Comcast has made streaming content aggregation a priority for its X1 and Flex platforms and it appears to be paying off in viewer engagement increases.
Rebecca Heap, senior vice president of entertainment and video at Comcast, said today at the Stream TV Show that demand for OTT content is up 80% year over year Comcast’s platforms. The company has recently launched streaming services including Peacock, its own ad-supported service, along with Hulu and Sling TV.
Peacock and third-party streaming content has been particularly important for Flex, the aggregation platform that Comcast gives to its broadband-only subscribers. The company recently revealed that more than 2 million Flex devices have been deployed within Comcast’s footprint and Heap said that growth in monthly active users on Flex has offset subscriber losses in Comcast’s traditional video business. The company lost 273,000 video subscribers in the third quarter.
Near the beginning of the pandemic lockdown earlier this year, Comcast spent about six to eight weeks leaning more heavily into free previews of premium services. In the spring, the company held its annual Watchathon and this year stretched across X1 along with Stream, Comcast’s mobile video service, and Flex. Heap said it was the biggest Watchathon ever.
Comcast also partnered with Hulu this year to offer some of the service’s content for free. Heap said the Hulu titles did extremely well.
“We will continue to lean in. We’ve got free TV week coming up later in November and you’ll see a rolling cadence of free, ungated promotional periods going forward,” she said. “It is critical to our strategy.”