Mega Bucks are being spent to improve the country's broadband access.
The Federal Communications Commission's 600-megahertz airwave spectrum auction, which started yesterday and should run til September, gives Big Media "one of the last chances to secure low-band broadband spectrum for long-distance and in-building Internet service" -- and first-day action has already been "dramatically altering the supply/demand outlook" and "leveling out the playing field as we enter into a 5G world," writes analyst Amy Yong at Macquarie Securities. Also: "AT&T and Verizon have larger holdings of low-band spectrum but have expressed interest in bulking up in large markets including: New York City, Dallas, and San Francisco. Verizon's acquisition of XO also gives it the option to purchase XO’s spectrum holding entity in ’18; the entity holds high-band spectrum which could be particularly useful in 5G development." read more at philly.com
There are a lot of sports on Cable and Broadcast TV as well. We all appreciate our home teams, especially when they are winning. But is that the reason for so much sports programming?
Earlier this month, Multichannel News reported that Comcast’s (CMCSA) NBC Sports Digital is set to launch Playmaker Media, a service that will provide “end-to-end support” for partners that are looking to deliver live and on-demand streams.” The IOC (International Olympic Committee) would be this service’s first client. Playmaker Media will provide support to the live streaming of the Olympic Committee’s Olympic Channel, which is expected to launch later in the year. Comcast reiterated the importance of sports programming for the company at the JPMorgan (JPM) Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference. It stated that “And what you’re trying to do on the content side is make sure that you’re using live programming of which sports is the best, among the best, to reach audiences and make your networks and channels must-have for carriage in all forms. So it helps drive retrains fees and affiliate fees obviously on the revenue line for the content side of the house.” Comcast’s NBCUniversal Broadcast Television business earns the majority of its revenues from advertising and retransmission revenues. In a bid to step up its advertising revenues, this segment has acquired sports broadcasting rights for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (EWZ). Earlier this year, the company announced that NBC and CBS (CBS) will telecast five Thursday night football games each. read more at marketrealist.com
Comcast is clearly pushing X1 as its main USP when marketing its service to new and existing customers. They are continuing to make investments in the system.
Comcast has released another batch of additions and enhancements for X1, its next-gen video platform, led off by the commercial rollout of a feature that was previously being tested through its Labs section. The X1 “Remind” feature is now featured on the action bar for all program listings. “Once activated, an X1 notification will appear reminding you it’s time to tune in. Users who previously enabled Reminders via Labs will continue to have access to this feature, and is now available to everyone,” Peter Nush, Comcast Cable’s VP of product management, explained in this blog post. Comcast has also added a notification for Auto Extend, a feature that ensures that live events recorded to the DVR will be automatically extended if, for example, a sporting event goes into overtime. The new notification now shows up when the viewer is playing back the recording. Comcast introduced Auto Extend for X1 in August 2015. X1 now also supports a “self-healing” response system that enters play when the playback of a completed DVR recording somehow fails. In those situations, the system will provide the customer with all available alternatives for viewing the program. read more at multichannel.com
So how is Comcast doing in terms of attracting customers with X1 to its Comcast Store?
At the JPMorgan (JPM) Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference, Comcast was asked about the penetration of its X1 set-top box. In fiscal 1Q16, Comcast’s X1 set-top box had a penetration of 35% and Comcast expects the penetration of its X1 set-top box to be around 50% by the end of 2016. Comcast expects its X1 penetration to be deeper in 2017, though not 100%. As of the end of 1Q16, 35% of Comcast’s video customers were using the company’s X1 platform with the voice remote. 86% of Comcast’s subscribers were using XFINITY On Demand on a monthly basis, with 25 hours per month of viewing on average. On May 4, the company also introduced a Spanish Kids Zone on its XFINITY platform. Around 42% of Comcast’s subscribers are using its mobile TV Everywhere apps on a monthly basis, up by 32% from last year. These customers are viewing an average of seven hours of content each month. As more and more Comcast customers use the company’s X1 platform, the company’s product churn is dropping. Comcast continues to push its X1 platform and add more features to make the platform more attractive for its customers. As a part of Comcast’s annual Watchathon Week, which promotes VoD viewing, the company made Sony’s (SNE) free, ad-supported streaming network, Crackle, available on its XFINITY On Demand service.