On April 4, at Simulmedia in New York, PromaxBDA’s latest Emerging Media Workshop informed and enlightened a packed house with speakers from Guide, X1 and Frank N. Magid Associates. Following each presentation, members could use their mobile devices to ask questions, and many took advantage. Below, we present the first part of the questions from the X1 presentation, and the company’s corresponding answers.

X1 is a platform from Xfinity offering a more personalized TV experience that makes it easier to discover, access and share entertainment.

Questions for X1

Answered by: Peter Nush, Executive Director, Product Management, X1 Platform & Comcast Cable

Will a la carte ever be an option for cable consumers?

NUSH: I wish I had a crystal ball to know the answer to that. I’m a product guy, and whatever the business decides, I’ll make sure our products provide the best experience possible. Personally I don’t think the economics of a la carte work for today’s high-quality content model, and I’m not sure consumers really know what they are asking for when they suggest that as an option. Professionally, I don’t think there’s a clear answer to that question right now.

Why splinter the brand? Do you think the Comcast brand hurts the Xfinity brand?

We don’t splinter the brand with consumers. All of our messaging, our products, our bills, and even the trucks our installers drive are branded XFINITY. We shifted to this brand a number of years ago, and it is our complete face forward to the consumer. As a legal entity, we retain the Comcast corporate brand for our other lines of business, but for our consumer-facing products and services, we are absolutely aligned around the single XFINITY brand.

Can a smart TV guide like X1 help with content discovery? Via personalized recommendations or promoted content?

Absolutely, and we’re already starting to see viewing behaviors change as a result of the X1 Platform for XFINITY TV. We’re seeing consumers spend less time bouncing in and out of menus, and more time browsing and selecting content to watch. We’re also seeing a number of content selections come from our “More Like This” recommendations for the content they are already browsing, and then finding something interesting to watch from that path.

Can viewers interact with social media from this platform?

Yes, they can. We’ve integrated a few ways to do that in our current release to get a sense for how and where consumers will most use these capabilities. What we’re finding is that outbound sharing is happening, but not as much on the TV as on second-screen experiences, and we’re still exploring. On the contrary, we’re seeing people shy away from looking at their Facebook wall on the big screen because their other family members can see it, too – that’s not something kids want their parents to see, and it’s not something everyone in the household is interested in when they sit down together to watch TV. That consumption activity has a much higher preference on a second-screen.

What advertising opportunities does X1 provide?

It provides all of the traditional advertising capabilities of our other television products, and we’re exploring ways to offer new advertising options into the product over time. As a platform that we can learn from and grow, we are always looking for ways to make it better… better for our subscribers, better for our partners, better for our shareholders.

Will X1 be compatible or work with existing streaming content services?

If the question refers to services like Netflix, then, as a product guy, that’s a decision for the business to make. But I don’t personally see it as a good consumer experience. The X1 Platform was designed to showcase and help subscribers to find the content they love the most, in a cohesive viewing experience, and not try to splinter their viewing across multiple services with multiple subscriptions from multiple billers with multiple user-interfaces to learn to navigate… that just sounds like making TV harder, not easier.


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