Comcast Has Combined Its Linear and Digital Olympic Feeds to Make Watching the Games Easier | Adweek
As the Olympics unfold, NBCUniversal is offering so much linear and digital Rio Olympic programming—6,755 hours overall—that not even the people behind it are quite sure how viewers should try to consume it all. "I have no idea. Good luck!" NBC Olympics executive producer Jim Bell joked to reporters last week.
"We've never had livestreaming integrated from the internet with live television in one seamless way," Brian Roberts, Comcast CEO and chairman, explained to reporters last month. He said that the X1 Rio experience represents his entire company "coming together."
"Everything we've done is really with an eye, how can we extend this to other parts of the programming landscape," said Matt Strauss, Comcast cable's evp and gm of video services, who has been working with NBC on their Olympics strategy since shortly after the Sochi Winter Olympics ended in 2014. "It's very rare to have an event which captures so much attention of the country over such a long period of time—17 days—that it really becomes an incubator for us to test different features and to almost use the Olympics as a sandbox."
The X1 is having its big introduction party during the Olympics, with a bunch of new features meant to transform how you watch and wring as much value as possible from the games. These features mostly revolve around different ways to personalize the games: following different sports, countries, or athletes; surfacing stats you want; or dropping you right in the action.
But what's interesting about these features isn't that they're for the Olympics, but that they begin to reimagine the way you surf cable.
Strauss wants X1 to be the "aggregator of aggregators," to tie together your cable package and other services like Netflix (which will come to the platform "later this year"). X1 will pluck what you want from it or let you go into individual apps. No more tyranny of apps — or channels, for that matter.
But the second part of Comcast's plan is to use voice — and cable — as a foundation to manage your entire home. That goal pits it against not just Apple, but likely Amazon, Google, and even Microsoft. You can bet they will all be vying for that spot.
Comcast seems to believe that whatever robot controls your house in the future will likely control your TV — and that direct relationship with the customer is valuable since without it, the cable company begins to feel like the unnecessary middleman between the people who actually make the shows and the people who watch them. No one wants to become a dumb pipe.
So for Comcast, winning the future of TV could mean winning the entire house in the process.
We do not just service Comcast, and we will work with you where ever you live with other cable or satellite providers as well as ADT home security. However, we cannot help but note that Comcast is preparing for the future in a more obvious manner than most with its X1 capabilities.