Comcast and Charter Communications, two of America’s largest cable companies, announced on Wednesday that they would partner to offer customers set-top boxes for video streaming and leverage their combined reach to better interact with established players like Roku and to compete with Amazon.

Connected TVs, which allow users to watch movies and shows over the internet, are booming. The increasing adoption of streaming services and the growth of advertising on these platforms have made the connected TV market a competitive ground in the battle for consumer attention.

Comcast, which owns NBCUniversal and operates cable brand Xfinity, has made strides in this area over the past decade, developing X1, a set-top box system that allows customers to stream video, and XClass TV, one sold by Walmart connected TV with an operating system developed by the cable giant. Comcast also operates Xumo, an ad-supported streaming app available on connected TVs that allows customers to watch live TV in addition to on-demand shows.

The partnership between Comcast and Charter, which owns the Spectrum cable brand, is structured as a 50:50 joint venture in which Charter will distribute streaming devices based on Comcast’s technology, the companies said. Charter will contribute $900 million over several years to the company, which is yet to be named.

Although Comcast and Charter have longstanding presences in the connected TV market, the partnership will allow both companies to further increase their market share and make their services more attractive to customers, potentially reducing subscriber churn.

Rich Greenfield, a partner at analyst firm LightShed, said the company could result in a national beachhead for Comcast and Charter, which have largely stood by and allowed Roku to become the dominant player in the connected TV market.

Mr Greenfield also said the deal was intended to quell speculation that Comcast could acquire Roku.

“Comcast and Charter have been gatekeepers to the broadcast and cable world for the past 30 years,” said Mr. Greenfield. “And they’ve enabled all of these tech companies to become the gatekeepers to the world of connected television. And finally, in 2022, these companies are finally waking up and realizing they basically missed this entire opportunity.”



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