Comcast and other ISPs eventually will bundle broadband and streaming video, analyst says

Comcast Flex
Comcast's Xfinity Flex is an example of a streaming product bundle from an ISP. (Comcast)

Comcast and other internet service providers (ISP) eventually will begin bundling broadband and subscription streaming services as the market swells with new products.

Barclays expects about 10 new streaming services from legacy media and new entrants will launch over the next 12 months. This includes new services from Apple, Disney, NBCUniversal, Quibi and AT&T’s WarnerMedia. As the numbers grow, the firm believes we’ll see a mix of price and product bundles from ISPs which include multiple OTT services attached to a broadband connection at one price point.

“In our opinion, however, ISPs that can create product bundles will be a lot more effective than those creating price bundles but the only company which has invested in this among ISPs is Comcast,” wrote Barclays analyst Kannan Venkateshwar in a research note.

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Comcast’s Xfinity Flex is a streaming box and platform that provides unified search and access for multiple subscription services with a catalog of free content, not unlike what the Roku Channel and upcoming TiVo+ offer. Comcast recently made Flex free for its internet-only customers after initially charging $5 per month for the product.

When and if ISPs begin selling subscription streaming video bundles, Barclays predicts that Netflix will likely serve as the anchor in a way similar to how broadcast networks similarly anchor traditional pay TV channel bundles.

“Everything else is essentially an add on. This role should allow Netflix to penetrate much deeper into broadband households than is the case today,” wrote Venkateshwar. “We believe the biggest negative impact of the above process is likely to be on legacy media companies. Ironically, most of these streaming services are coming out from legacy media, which makes it easier for their legacy networks to be disintermediated.”

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