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Comcast eyes Vizio acquisition amid growth of smart TV viewership

Jul 27, 2022
Illustration of an upwards trending line graph pushing off a smart tv screen

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

As smart TVs mature and gain more viewing share, these businesses could become attractive acquisition targets. Suitors are already on the prowl.

Driving the news: Comcast has approached Irvine, Calif.-based Vizio as the company eyes acquiring a TV maker, Protocol reports. It's also looked at TP Vision.

State of play: Comcast is in the smart TV business already, through its Sky subsidiary and a partnership with Hisense. But it apparently wants more.

  • As Protocol's Janko Roettgers writes, "[B]uying its own TV manufacturer ... would help Comcast remain relevant in a world where an increasing number of consumers cut the cord, and stream their favorite programming via their smart TVs."
  • Smart TV's viewing share increased by 34% in the first quarter compared to the prior year, whereas CTV devices' share fell by 1%, according to a recent report by video analytics company Conviva.

Be smart: Smart TVs provide new sources of revenue, not only from hardware sales but also through their growing advertising businesses.

  • Vizio reported $309 million in Platform+ revenue, which includes advertising and other non-hardware businesses, for 2021. That was up 110% from the year prior.

What they're saying: Original equipment manufacturers "have definitely taken a bigger chair versus where we used to be in terms of how we were buying within the streaming landscape," Havas Media's Diana Bernstein told Adweek, adding that the tech and data provided are important for targeting and measurement and addressing ad fraud.

By the numbers: Vizio went public in March 2021, opening at $17.50 and closing at $19.10 on its debut day. But it's fallen more than 50% since then.

  • A source told Protocol that they doubt Vizio CEO William Wang, who owns the majority of voting shares, would sell the company at its current valuation of $1.7 billion.
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