Can cable companies take a bite out of the streaming ecosystems of Apple, Roku and Amazon?
Comcast and Charter think 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 immediately beginning to roll it out to its subscriber footprint, and Comcast expected to follow suit in the coming months.
Built on Comcast’s Entertainment OS platform, the Xumo interface integrates pay TV into its platform, seamlessly integrating live TV into the offering. But it also puts apps in the foreground and fills the homepage depending on the services users subscribe to.
For Charter, which recently struck a deal to include Disney+ in its basic pay-TV package, it’s clearly a vision where live TV and streaming entertainment apps live side by side.
“We still want to participate in the video business in a meaningful way,” Rich DiGeronimo, president of product and technology for Charter, said at the event in Midtown Manhattan. “Even as the industry evolves at a rapid pace, and even as traditional linear viewership is in a state of decline, streaming viewership has increased significantly and Charter wants to participate in that growth.”
Charter’s recent agreement to include Disney+ in some pay-TV packages was also discussed.
“Spectrum now includes programmer 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 easy for customers to discover the value of the package they get with Spectrum, and to centrally present these applications as part of the package.”
For Comcast, the Xumo box is also being 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 create what is essentially a next-generation cable box, with a voice-activated UX and a platform that automatically accessible content locates through the subscriptions that users own, or through live pay TV, if applicable.
“Watching TV is designed to be a relaxing, laid-back experience, but today’s fragmented entertainment landscape has added a level of complexity that makes finding something to watch more difficult for consumers,” said Marcien Jenckes, president of Xumo. “When we started Xumo, our ambition was to leverage Comcast and Charter’s decades of entertainment experience and technical innovation and build a complete entertainment experience that breaks down streaming silos and makes TV easy again.”