Thursday, December 03, 2009

Comcast's split personality, and what it means for businesses

Why on earth am I blogging about Comcast's joint venture with GE on NBC Universal? Since when have I been interested in such things? Well, when it touches a company that has been trying to appeal to small businesses so intensely, it seems only right that I talk 'entertainment news'.

Comcast, the largest cable company in the US, has two segments, one for the provision of the wired services, such as TV, broadband Internet and phone. The second in the programming segment, which already held some highly exciting content such as the Golf Channel and E Entertainment (depending on your TV watching preferences - I'm more of a Discovery and History watcher). My question is this: "How will the Comcast cable segment be distracted by the renewed focus on broadcast television?". Putting it another way, I see that Comcast has spent a significant amount of time recently pushing its range of non-broadcast capabilities to consumers and businesses. The provision of business Internet and VOIP solutions appears to have been a growth area, with the claim that Comcast can deliver these services better and cheaper than the 'phone' company. What happens to these now?

With the expected push from the parent company to make the NBC venture a success, will the cable segment be pushed back into focusing its growth on squeezing more out of the American consumer's pocket through broadcast TV? Will this slow its innovation of Internet, especially business focused Internet products? Or will the the new venture lead to a final opening up of the broadcast TV content onto mobile devices, on demand, with novel new subscription models? With this, will we see interesting new technology innovation with streaming video to the browser containing more than advertising and adult content? Will Internet bandwidth see a leap, with a drop in Mbits per dollar to the end customer?

As you can tell, I have none of the answers, and I would be surprised is Comcast doesn't go back to focus on what it does best - using up valuable bandwidth pushing broadcast TV across the country into people's homes. In my opinion, the revolution for TV, and the innovation of Internet services for consumers and businesses is likely to come from a different deal.

A post from the Improving It blog

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