Comcast CEO Brian Roberts

Comcast CFO Michael Cavanaugh gave an initial indication of how Comcast’s offerings might inform decisions at its newly acquired Sky.
Sky execs expressed interest in Comcast’s Xfinity xFi mobile app, which lets customers access and control their Comcast broadband service, Cavanaugh said.
Comcast sees xFi as a differentiator that attracts and retains broadband customers.

After a blockbuster summer of media bidding, Comcast walked away with the crown jewel of British broadcasting, Sky.

Sky, a pay-TV business that serves 23 million customers in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland, is seen as a rarity in that it owns premium content and a broadband service to distribute it. Comcast, the largest US cable-service provider, serves 22 million video customers and 26 million internet customers.

But details about Comcast’s plans for Sky have been sparse. Speaking at a UBS investor conference in December, Comcast CFO Michael Cavanaugh gave an initial indication of how Comcast’s offerings may inform those plans.

Sky executives expressed interest in Xfinity xFi, a mobile app that lets Comcast customers access and control their network. With xFi, customers can set up wifi networks, troubleshoot network issues, see what devices are connected to their networks, and block or pause connected devices.

Cavanaugh said Sky executives were like “kids in the candy store in terms of how can they take that and … use it to differentiate themselves as a broadband reseller, basically in the Italian market,” according to a transcript of the conference.

“In markets [where Comcast offers its X1 video platform], you hear a lot more about xFi, you see a lot of advertising about our differentiated broadband product and what xFi is and examples of the app,” Cavanaugh said.

Sky and xFi also share a history; Comcast exec Fraser Stirling, who oversees product development for xFi, worked at Sky for eight years, leading emerging product strategy and hardware.

Read more: Comcast’s bid for Sky throws uncertainty into Hulu, Disneyflix and Now TV

Differentiation is important to telecom companies

The ability to differentiate their broadband product is important to telecom companies, which are increasingly concerned about retaining customers. That Comcast, the largest pay-TV provider in the US, has more broadband customers than video customers shows just how vital broadband service is to the company as traditional linear TV subscribers decline.

Sky is similar to Comcast in that it has the ability to bundle video and broadband offerings. Here, Comcast has an advantage over telcos by virtue of …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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Comcast hinted that its mobile app xFi might be key to its plans for newly acquired Sky

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