Making good on its plan to integrate Netflix with its X1 platform on a broad basis by Thanksgiving, Comcast said Friday that it will extend access to the popular OTT service starting next week to millions of the MSO’s subscribers.
Comcast, which currently beta-testing Netflix on X1, said the integration will provide access to the Netflix catalog via its X1 voice remote, VOD platform or the Netflix app.
Comcast and Netflix announced the partnership in July. They haven’t revealed the specific terms of the agreement, but have characterized it as a marketing relationship. Speaking on the company’s Q3 earnings call last week, Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said Comcast will be “upselling Netflix” like it would a traditional premium network such as HBO or Showtime.
When Netflix is deployed on X1, subs will be able to access Netflix on the app menu or launch it by saying, “Netflix,” into the X1 voice remote. As part of the integration, searches for shows and actors will pull up content from Comcast VOD and Netflix libraries. New Netflix subs will be able to sign up for a Netflix subscription directly on X1 and have the service added to their Comcast bill.
“We’re now going to sell the subscriptions to customers of Netflix. I think it’s a big day,” Roberts said in September at the Goldman Sachs 25th Annual Communacopia Conference.
The integration will enable X1 subs to access Netflix without having to toggle to another device or change inputs. It will also increase Netflix’s exposure to Comcast’s pay TV base. Comcast, which has 22.42 million video subs, is on track to have about half its base on the X1 platform by the end of 2016 (it ended Q3 with X1 penetration of about 45%).
Because it’s delivered over-the-top, Netflix traffic to X1 set-tops will count against a customer’s Comcast high-speed Internet data plan. Comcast recently expanded its deployment of a usage-based policy that sets a monthly ceiling of 1 terabyte before overage charges apply ($10 for each additional 50 gigabytes) as well as an unlimited data option that costs an additional $50 per month.
“We are excited to add Netflix to X1 and give our customers access to all the content they love in a way that has never been done before,” said Neil Smit, Comcast Cable’s CEO, in a statement. “Netflix has been a terrific partner, and our incredible teams of engineers and designers have come together to create an experience that is not only seamless and intuitive, but also lets viewers search and watch tens of thousands of movies, shows, specials and documentaries with the sound of their voice."
“The Netflix integration into the X1 platform means our mutual customers will no longer need to change inputs or juggle remotes,” added Reed Hastings, Netflix CEO. “Now they can seamlessly move between the Netflix app and their cable service, enjoying all the TV shows and movies they love without hassle.”