Comcast expands X1 eligibility as it seeks to further accelerate deployment

Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) is looking to more aggressively accelerate deployment of its next-generation X1 video platform amid an early performance that has seen marked decreases in churn and significant upticks in VOD transactions and DVR usage compared to legacy platforms.

Neil Smit, Comcast

Smit (Source: Comcast)

"The X1 rollout we are very pleased with," said Neil Smit, executive VP and president and CEO of Comcast Cable, during the company's second-quarter earnings call on Tuesday, July 22. "We are in 100 percent of the footprint right now. It has brought down churn 20 percent to 30 percent, VOD usage is up 25 percent and VOD transactions are up 20 percent. Additionally, you are getting two times the DVR take rate on it and you are getting more additional outlets. So the ARPU of the product once it is deployed has gone up very nicely."

Smit wouldn't specify as to how many X1 set-tops are currently deployed among Comcast subscribers, but he did say that the inventory issues that previously slowed X1 dispersion have subsided and that the company is now doling out about 20,000 X1 units a day.

Key to Comcast's acceleration of X1 deployment is product eligibility, which has been expanded beyond triple-play subscribers to those who have two services, or even just video. The company is also experimenting with self-install kits. 

"It is still not having a material impact on the video results because it hasn't been deployed to a large portion of our base yet," Smit added. "About 50 percent of the triple play packages that we have sold have X1 in them, and where that has been deployed it has worked well."

The company revealed it lost 144,000 video subscribers during the three-month period between April 1 and June 30. Comcast typically experiences its heaviest TV subscriber losses in the second quarter, and this was actually its best Q2 performance in that area in six years. 

For more:
- read this Comcast Q2 earnings report transcript (PDF)
- read this Multichannel News story
- read this Light Reading story

Related links:
Comcast looks to accelerate X1 deployment, tests self-install kits
Comcast posts strong Q2 with $16.8B in revenue, delivers best cable subscriber data in six years
New 'Comcast Labs' feature lets X1 users beta-test new products