Rogers Communications has inked a long term strategic deal with Comcast that will pave the way for the Canadian cable operator to deploy Comcast’s X1 video platform and install a next-gen IPTV service.
The agreement, which will enable Rogers to migrate toward an IP, multiscreen video future using a hosted platform based on Comcast’s technology, follows X1 syndication/licensing deals that Comcast has forged with Cox Communications and Shaw Communications. Those agreements are enabling Comcast to broaden the adoption of its home-grown platform outside its traditional footprint and recoup some of those costs after its bid to acquire Time Warner Cable came up short.
With the X1 deal in hand, Rogers said it will cut further investment in an IPTV product it was developing, and expects to take a pre-tax, non-cash asset impairment charge in the range of C$475 million to C$525 million in its fourth quarter ending Dec. 31, 2016.
But it’ll be some time before Rogers puts it all in place, announcing that it expects to launch its X1-based IPTV service in “early 2018.” In the meantime, the MSO said it will continue to enhance its legacy video platform with more 4K content and a DVR that can record and playback 4K content.
Rogers, which has been rumored to be in the mix for a potential X1 syndication agreement since 2015, noted that its new IPTV service will ride on an enhanced Internet platform that enables gigabit broadband. Rogers began to roll out a DOCSIS 3.1-powered gateway from Hitron this week.
Rogers didn't announce which features of X1 it will use early on. Comcast has been bulkling up X1 with features that include a cloud DVR, a native sports app, a voice remote, and integration with its Xfinity Home security/automation service. Comcast has also started to team X1 with more OTT services, including Netflix and Pandora, Comcast's ad-based short-form video service Watchable, and will soon tie in Sling TV, the Dish Network-owned OTT-TV service
“This partnership is great news for our customers,” Alan Horn, chairman and interim CEO of Rogers, said in a statement. “We’re bringing our customers a world-class IPTV service with the most advanced features available in the market today. On top of that, our customers will be future-proofed thanks to Comcast’s innovative and robust product roadmap.”
“We’ve seen growing desire of other operators to leverage the industry-leading innovations we’ve created at Comcast,” added Neil Smit, Comcast’s Cable’s president and CEO. “Comcast is excited to bring the experiences of the award-winning X1 platform to Rogers’ customers in Canada.”
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