Netflix may be looking to cut distribution deals with cable operators, but you can count Comcast out of the mix.
Comcast has no plans to sell its customers Netflix subscriptions — on any device, a Comcast spokeswoman told FierceCable. (Comcast declined to confirm the statement to me, but it sounds about right.)
Netflix reportedly has met with several big MSOs recently, aiming to slot in its streaming-video service alongside other premium entertainment options — like HBO or Showtime (see Netflix Seeking MSO Deals: Report).
Comcast, though, doesn’t need to piggyback on Netflix’s licensing deals or multiscreen delivery infrastructure. The operator is now pushing its own Netflix-like service, Streampix, that will offer a heap of older TV shows and movies as a bonus for subscribers of certain bundles or for $4.99 per month (see Comcast’s ‘Streampix’ Takes Aim at Netflix). Separately, Verizon and Coinstar’s Redbox are teaming up on a service that would meld over-the-top video with access to DVD rental kiosks.
But what about everyone else? Depending on the terms of a deal, Netflix could make sense for midsize or some big operators — no content-licensing muss, no app-development fuss. Just add Netflix into the billing system, activate it for subscribers and bam: You’ve got a great TV Everywhere offering to keep customers in the fold.
Check out Charter’s philosophy on this general front.
On its website, Charter — instead of trying to contain everything in an operator-branded “experience” like Comcast — is incorporating search results for video content from Netflix, Hulu and Amazon (see Charter To Weave Netflix, Hulu And Amazon Into Web Searches). Charter either links off to the third-party site, or embeds its video player.
Right now, no money is changing hands between Charter and the over-the-top providers. But it’s not a huge leap from the current arrangement to Charter upselling customers on Netflix — which would not only bring in additional revenue but, theoretically, result in happier customers.
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