Cable Operators

Smit: Comcast’s Platforms, Partnerships Drive Innovation

12/05/2011 12:01 AM Eastern

In a fast-paced marketplace, innovation is
the driver of cable industry success, and Comcast Cable Communications
president Neil Smit said the top MSO is keeping
up with the competition, even as it faces subscriber losses.

At the OnScreen Media Summit, Smit said Comcast has
launched 16 products this year, including Skype and its nextgeneration
TV platform, which is more than it had released in
the last two years combined. In keeping with this past year’s
heavy rollout of product offerings, Smit said Comcast plans to
release a new customer-facing or customer-service product every
quarter.

Smit said the rapid pace of new product releases is the new
cultural norm for Comcast. “People really thrive on it,” he said.

He said next year’s success will be based on the evergrowing
number of choices offered to consumers in terms of
both content and platforms. Comcast’s existing platforms and
relationships, such as its partnership with Microsoft, make it
easier to execute a quarterly product release. “We’re really trying
to find the best of the industries out there and integrate that
into our Xfinity platform,” Smit said.

In a down economy, with competition from both telcos and
satellite providers, Smit said he was concerned about videosubscriber
losses but noted that new efforts have stemmed the
bleeding. One of those efforts, customer service, has become
a priority at the cable giant, he said. For example, Comcast is
now rolling out one-hour service windows in certain markets.

He pointed out that Comcast has led an industry effort to
offer its services to low-income households. Its low-income
broadband service has been launched in 39 states, and the
company has been evaluating how it offers products to customers
who may not be able to afford higher-tier products.

September