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May 13, 2022
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Happy Friday, Media Deals readers!

🐦 Situational awareness: Elon has put his purchase of Twitter "temporarily on hold," which sank the company's shares this morning. More on that below.

1 big thing: Comcast vet tapped for streaming JV

An image of Marcein Jenckes standing by himself
Marcien Jenckes; Photo: courtesy of Comcast

Comcast and Charter are making a big bet that cable operators still have a seat at the table in the streaming era, Tim writes.

Why it matters: The two companies' recently announced joint venture is aimed at taking back some of the video distribution market that cable and satellite operators previously dominated.

Yes, but: Over the last decade, Roku, Samsung and Amazon Fire — platforms that are available anywhere rather than tied to specific regions — have grabbed the majority of the streaming distribution market.

Driving the news: Longtime Comcast Cable executive Marcien Jenckes was picked to lead the JV yesterday.

  • Jenckes has some history working with Charter. In 2019, he led On Addressable with Charter and Cox, an initiative that aimed at beefing up the addressable advertising market.
  • Jenckes has headed up advertising for Comcast Cable since 2017 and has been with the company since 2010.

Catch up quick: Last month, Comcast and Charter announced a new partnership that would see Comcast license its Flex streaming platform to Charter in order to grow each company's streaming footprint outside their market.

  • Comcast also will contribute its smart TV business — XClass — and free ad-supported streaming service Xumo.
  • Charter will make an initial contribution of $900 million to be funded over multiple years and will start offering Flex-operated devices next year.

By the numbers: Both companies are bleeding cable subscribers as the pay-TV bundle continues to erode.

  • Comcast, which has the biggest subscriber base in pay-TV, shed another 440,000 subs during the first quarter and has lost 1.5 million cable subscribers over the past 12 months.
  • Charter's losses have been less steep. The company lost 112,000 subs during the first quarter and 341,000 over the last 12 months.

What we're watching: While everyone is paying attention to subscriber numbers, Comcast and Charter's plan could represent a new salvo in the streaming wars for not just owning the content, but the pipes, too.

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