Comcast-Netflix deal a referendum on 'Unlock the Box,' trade groups say

INCOMPAS, a trade group representing cable industry rivals including Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) and Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), praised the former SVOD giant for carving out a technology integration deal with Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA).

But in his statements following Tuesday's deal announcement, INCOMPAS chief Chip Pickering limited his praise to Netflix, calling the service a "trailblazer that has opened doors for other streamers."

"From open internet to interconnection policies, we advocated for a foundation that enables over-the-top content and traditional video to grow together, rather than apart," Pickering said in a statement. "These smart policies, led and adopted by the FCC, have been hard fought victories that have knocked down many walls and are good for competition, consumers and free markets."

For his part, John Bergmayer, senior staff attorney for Public Knowledge, tied the deal to the ongoing pay-TV set-top regulation debate.

"As a side note, it is interesting to be reminded again how important the proprietary set-top box is to Comcast," Bergmayer said. "It doesn't look like Comcast plans to 'ditch the box' any time soon."

After several years of bitter corporate acrimony with Netflix, Comcast has agreed to offer the SVOD service's app natively on its X1 platform. 

"Yay, Comcast customers can now watch Netflix!" read an acerbic statement released by the Consumer Video Choice Coalition "Now what's wrong with unlocking the box and letting consumers watch the rest of the Internet as well? Comcast once again proves consumer advocates' point; consumers are hungry for new Internet streaming content and don't want a gatekeeper box or gatekeeper app telling them what they can and can't watch."

For more:
- read this Broadcasting & Cable story
- read this Fortune story

Related articles:
Comcast putting Netflix on its set-top boxes
CBS, Viacom, 21st Century Fox, others support pay-TV's 'Ditch the Box' proposal, albeit with caveats
FCC's O'Rielly calls STB proposal 'convoluted scheme,' stumps for apps-based alternative

 

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