When the two cable giants first formed the JV back in April, Comcast licensed Xumo, its free ad-supported streaming service, for the venture as well as its Xfinity Flex streaming device and XClass smart TVs. Charter is contributing $900 million over multiple years.
The newfound JV title means Comcast’s arsenal of streaming products will undergo a rebranding. Xumo’s name will be changed to Xumo Play, though it will still be available as a FAST service on other streaming platforms.
While Flex will be rebranded to Xumo Stream Box and XClass to Xumo TV. Comcast and Charter expect the Xumo-branded devices to hit the market in late 2023.
Xumo products will be available directly through Comcast and Charter as well as via retailers like Walmart. Other distributors will be announced at a later date.
“Since 2011, the Xumo brand has connected with millions of customers across the country, establishing itself as a leader in the free ad-supported TV industry for the innovative ways it delivers content to its users,” stated Xumo President Marcien Jenckes.
Charter and Comcast in May appointed Jenckes to spearhead the JV. He previously served as president of advertising at Comcast Cable.
“The new Xumo will bring industry leading streaming and aggregation technology nationwide through its expanding content, product line up, and retailer relationships,” Jenckes added.
Comcast bought Xumo in February 2020, marking the company’s first step in the ad-supported streaming space. A few months later, Comcast’s NBCUniversal launched AVOD service Peacock.
Charter and Comcast advance their JV strategy as both operators continued to shed cable video subscribers in Q3. Comcast Cable CEO Dave Watson recently noted, “we view video as an opportunity long-term as a platform, so we will continue to focus on that.”
Comcast is also focusing on licensing the JV streaming platform to a growing base of U.S. operators, Watson said at an investor conference earlier this year. He added Charter’s scale is a key element to the JV, and will help make the streaming platform available in major markets such as New York and L.A.