Comcast, the U.S.’s biggest pay-TV operator, no longer licenses content for discrete devices — rather, it’s looking to offer as much content as possible to subscribers across all screens, according to Matt Strauss, head of cable company’s video services.
“Essentially every piece of glass is a TV,” said Strauss, Comcast’s exec VP and G.M. of video services, speaking Monday at the J.P. Morgan Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference in Boston.
That said, the strategy hasn’t reversed the tide of Comcast losing video customers. As of the end of March 2015, Comcast had 22.4 million video subscribers, down about 1% from the year-prior period.
According to Strauss, consumers 25-34 year old with no kids are “actually the biggest customers for our bundle. They watch more,” he said. “People will default to the best screen available to them,” Strauss said.
Strauss acknowledged that some customers may want a “skinnied-down” bundle, a la Dish Network’s Sling TV that starts at $20 per month. But he pointed to Comcast’s Internet Plus package – which starts at $40 per month for broadband, broadcast networks, HBO and the Streampix streaming service – and claimed that after a year one-third of customers who took the package upgraded to higher tiers of service.
For Comcast, Strauss said, a challenge is to introduce services — for example, home-security monitoring — that would make the big-screen TV in the living room as essential as a smartphone for regularly checking in to personalized info.
Compared with mobile devices, “When you look at the TV, it’s almost like it’s stuck in time,” Strauss said. “It’s a fairly crude device.”