Can cable companies take advantage of some of the streaming ecosystems created by Apple, Roku and Amazon?
Comcast and Charter believe so. And Xumo is their weapon of choice.
The cable giants officially pulled back the curtain on their Xumo product on Wednesday, with Charter Communications beginning to roll it out to its subscriber base immediately, and Comcast will follow suit in the coming months.
The Xumo interface, built on Comcast’s Entertainment OS platform, integrates pay TV into its platform and seamlessly integrates live TV into the offering. But it also puts apps front and center, filling the homepage depending on which services users subscribe to.
For Charter, which recently inked a deal to add Disney+ to its base pay TV offering, it’s clearly a vision in which its live TV and streaming entertainment apps coexist.
“We want to continue to meaningfully participate in the video business,” Rich DiGeronimo, president of product and technology at Charter, said at the event in midtown Manhattan. “Although the industry is evolving rapidly and traditional linear viewership is in decline, streaming viewership has increased significantly and Charter wants to be a part of that growth.”
In fact, Charter’s recent deal to include Disney+ in some pay TV packages was also unveiled.
“Spectrum now includes developer-direct-to-consumer apps in some of these packages,” DiGeronimo added, with a Disney+ tile prominently placed on the screen. “And we think that’s really important to make it easier for customers to see the value of the package they’re getting with Spectrum and to bring these applications to the forefront as part of the package.”
For Comcast, the Xumo box will also be made available to Internet subscribers, who can add any streaming apps they use.
Comcast and Charter announced the Xumo joint venture last year, combining the free streaming service Xumo, Comcast technology and cash to essentially create a next-generation cable box with a voice-activated UX and a platform that automatically Accessible content takes place via the users’ subscriptions or, if applicable, live pay TV.
“TV should be a relaxing, laid-back experience, but today’s fragmented entertainment landscape has added a level of complexity that makes it harder for consumers to find something to watch,” said Marcien Jenckes, president of Xumo. “When we founded Xumo, our goal was to leverage the decades of entertainment experience and technical innovations of Comcast and Charter and create a complete entertainment experience that breaks down the streaming silos and makes watching TV easier again.”