On Friday, the companies announced that Netflix’s streaming TV service would be available on Comcast’s X1 cable boxes across the country — starting next week. It’s a big moment for TV, given that Netflix has spent much of its life fighting the cable establishment.
Comcast is the country’s largest cable provider with 22 million TV subscribers, while Netflix counts 47 million U.S. customers for its streaming TV and movie service.
Here’s how the companies described the service: “X1 customers with Netflix subscriptions will be able to easily browse and access over the Internet the extensive online collection of Netflix TV shows and movies alongside the live, on demand, DVR and web programming included with their [Comcast] Xfinity TV subscription.”
In the announcement, Netflix Co-Founder and CEO Reed Hastings pointed out that the companies had solved the pressing first-world issue of too many remote controls. “The Netflix integration into the X1 platform means our mutual customers will no longer need to change inputs or juggle remotes,” he said.
More seriously, though, the friendly tone of the press release suggests that Netflix and Comcast might finally be willing to work together in other ways, as well. Could this be the opening move toward a merger?
Comcast Cable CEO Neil Smit called Netflix a “terrific partner.”
Meanwhile, Netflix’s Hastings uncharacteristically suggested there was actually content worth watching on cable. He praised customers’ new choices: “Now they can seamlessly move between the Netflix app and their cable service, enjoying all the TV shows and movies they love without hassle.”
Shares of Netflix and Comcast were flat on the news Friday.
Big Picture: Comcast and Netflix announced a deal to bring Netflix’s streaming service to Comcast’s cable boxes. The cooperation could suggest more partnerships to come between Netflix and cable companies.