Two of the largest American cable providers are joining forces to adapt to the internet era. Charter and Comcast have unveiled a joint venture that will create a “next-generation” streaming platform for a range of branded media devices and smart TVs. It will be based on Comcast’s Flex, and will unsurprisingly include services like Peacock and the free-to-watch Xumo alongside “all the top apps.”
The platform will be available on Comcast’s XClass TVs, while Charter will provide streaming devices with voice remotes starting in 2023. Flex and Xumo will still be available as independent products, so you won’t have to buy new hardware.
The telecoms stressed that they each had equal stakes in the joint venture, and that their cable and broadband services weren’t involved. Charter will initially pour $900 million into the project over “multiple years.”
The team-up isn’t shocking. Both Charter and Comcast face ongoing pressure from a growing number of streaming services, including Disney+ and the eventual combination of Discovery+ and HBO Max. It’s also known that Comcast’s Peacock, while moderately successful, remains small compared to heavyweights like Amazon Prime Video and Netflix. The new platform could help the cable companies thrive even if their conventional TV subscriptions continue to decline, and might boost services like Peacock and Xumo in the process.