Charter CEO: We’ve considered licensing Comcast’s X1 video platform

Tom Rutledge
Charter CEO Tom Rutledge said today that Charter still feels that video is a driver for the company in terms of customer creation. (Charter)

Charter has been busy updating its own video service platform and user experience, but the company admitted that doesn’t mean it’s not considering licensing Comcast’s X1.

Charter CEO Tom Rutledge said during today’s earnings call that his company is “down the road” with its own user interface, but Charter has had discussions with Comcast about licensing X1 and Comcast’s new IP video platform. Other U.S. cable operators like Cox already deploy a white-label version of X1.

“If we could make that the best platform for us, we’d certainly be willing to do that,” said Rutledge. “We think they’d be a great provider.”

But, to date, Charter has not set any licensing deal with Comcast, and Rutledge said that his company like its own UI, and likes having the ability to change the UI whenever and as quickly as it wants. However, he said if Charter could “check all the boxes in terms of having flexibility and low cost,” then his company could take on Comcast as its video platform vendor.

RELATED: Charter loses 145,000 video subscribers in Q1

Charter this year is breaking free of headwinds associated with its acquisition/integration of Time Warner Cable and Bright House, and the company said that should result in more spending on developing video and broadband products and updates. During an investor conference in February, Charter CFO Chris Winfrey said that every area of Charter’s product development had been “intentionally stunted” during the integration process.

“If you look at our capital expenditure plans for this year, there’s as much if not more new product development that’s built into those plans,” said Winfrey. “We can start turning on the gas.”

Rutledge said today that Charter still feels that video is a driver for the company in terms of customer creation, and pointed toward satellite’s rapid subscriber declines as an opportunity to convert departing DirecTV and Dish customers into Charter video and broadband customers.

During most of the earnings call the conversation focused on mobile and broadband, two the biggest growth areas for Charter during the quarter. The company added a whopping 398,000 residential Internet customers in the first quarter, up from 334,000 additions in the year-ago quarter. Internet revenues rose 8.6% during the quarter to push the total past $4 billion.