Comcast’s Flex nears 4M deployed but no new expansion details

Comcast Flex Olympics
Comcast currently licenses Flex as a hardware/software solution to MSO partners like Cox and it has confirmed its interest in seeing Flex launch as a smart TV operating system. (Comcast)

Comcast’s Xfinity Flex, a streaming device and platform for broadband-only subscribers, has continued to expand within the company’s service footprint.

During last week’s earnings call, Comcast Cable CEO Dave Watson said that there are now more than 3.8 million Flex devices deployed—up from 3.5 million in May—and that about half of those are being used regularly. He reiterated that his company is bringing in about $2 of average revenue per account from active users of Flex from just pay-per-view events. That ARPU figure is higher when factoring in streaming revenue share and advertising.

Watson said that Flex has become an integral part of Comcast’s broadband strategy and that his company has received positive feedback from users of the platform. However, he stopped short of providing any updates on Comcast’s efforts to expand the platform outside of its footprint.

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“So it's a really important part of broadband growth today, and we'll explore outside of footprint opportunities, ways of doing even more over time,” he said, according to a Motley Fool earnings transcript.

Comcast currently licenses Flex as a hardware/software solution to MSO partners like Cox and it has confirmed its interest in seeing Flex launch as a smart TV operating system.

“Others have done it and it’s absolutely doable to figure out how to get an advanced software stack into a smart TV,” Watson said during an investor event in May. “And then you talk to great retailers and other partners, and it is possible to go beyond the footprint.”

Last year, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts verified earlier reports that his company is interested in putting the Flex platform on smart TVs. In November, Comcast was tied to reports that Walmart was pursuing a deal where it would promote smart TVs running Flex in exchange for a share of the recurring revenue. A third-party manufacturer could end up making the TVs, which could carry Walmart’s Onn branding.

“We’re early days but we’re looking at smart TVs on a global basis, and we’re wondering if we can bring our same tech stack and certain capabilities in aggregation to consumers who are relying more and more on smart TVs,” Roberts said.