If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, many people have said so many times that it’s become a cliché. But in this case, it’s true, as two of the biggest adversaries in home TV watching are teaming up, with Netflix and Comcast partnering to allow customers to stream Netflix through their Comcast set-top box just like any other cable TV channel. This could resolve the conflict between the two rivals, which as been intense in the past, while giving both companies a leg up on competitors like Time-Warner, DIRECTV and Charter Communications.
More from Forbes:
Netflix has over 81 million subscribers and brought in $1.8 billion in revenue Q1 of this year. However, it is still dwarfed as a company by Comcast, which generated $18.8 billion in revenue for the same period. Nearly 35% of Comcast’s 22.4 million video customers have the X-1 platform, which will be Netflix-compatible later this year.
For Netflix, the deal with the number-one US cable provider opens up the possibility of customer gain and greater customer retention. “Customers simply don’t want to have to jump through hoops to access streaming services, and they shouldn’t,” says Paul Verna, an analyst at eMarketer. “It should be as simple as clicking one button or activating one app. So I think this is definitely a plus for both Comcast and Netflix customers.”
For Comcast, the deal could also help put it on the good graces of regulators, who have warily eyed its stranglehold on both content and content distribution. “They’re always dancing on the edge with raising red flags with regulators,” Verna says. “So if they’re suddenly shutting out a competitor from their system, that is not looked at favorably by people looking at if certain deals meet regulatory approval.”
This could change the landscape and make other pay-TV providers seek deals with other streaming services. Whatever happens, it is likely that the TV consumer will finally be the one that actually benefits.