Comcast’s Strauss: This Time It’s Personal

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New York — Comcast’s executive overseeing multiplatform
video development says making TV a “personalized”
experience is crucial in what’s already become an on-demand
world.

Reasons why digital video recorders are so popular are that
they are easy to use and make it easy to find shows people
want to watch, Matthew Strauss, senior vice president of digital
and emerging platforms at Comcast, said, and that’s also
true for using smartphones and tablets.

Comcast, after years of building what Strauss called “the
best content library on the planet,” has been able to make
TV more personalized through a Web portal (XfinityTV.com),
a tablet app and a new on-screen guide, X1, that’s easier for
customers to use and for Comcast to update quickly. “From
our point of view, it requires a shift in how we think of our
products,” he said. “It’s moving away from a household kind
of relationship to creating an individual relationship with
each person in the household and being able to deliver on a
highly personalized and targeted experience.”

Internally, Comcast helped address that evolution by combining
into one video group the formerly separate business
units that addressed Web video, set-top video and mobile
video, he said. “It’s not about platforms any more, it’s video
everywhere.”

Comcast Cable CEO Neil Smit has set an aggressive roadmap
for new product rollouts, which led to some 19 new products
launched last year, Strauss said. Smit also demands
milestones be hit on availability to customers and how frequently
they use it.

Strauss said on-demand has evolved from something used
mostly to view Japanese anime and music videos into something
that 70% of all digital-TV customers use frequently, to
the tune of 350-400 million views per month. “Th at is 400
million times that people are not watching traditional TV.”

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