Comcast is providing streaming service Apple TV+ a much-needed boost and helping its own position as a connected TV device and platform provider. The cable/internet firm is rolling out Apple TV+ across its Xfinity X1, Xfinity Flex, and XClass TV platforms, bringing Apple TV+ to “tens of millions of new devices,” according to Peter Stern, Apple’s Vice President of Services. Comcast and Apple offered Apple TV+ content at no extra cost from March 15-21, with no sign-up or sign-in required. For customers who do wish to sign up, the companies are offering a three-month free trial of Apple TV+ when they sign up via their Xfinity device by April 25th.
As Comcast continues to diversify its business into streaming, the company finds itself competing with both streaming devices and services, including Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and others. By adding Apple TV+ to the Xfinity platform, Comcast is making a push to keep its customers in one place, or as The Verge puts it, “The Xfinity strategy of trying to keep people from switching inputs to start streaming means it will need to have the popular services, and now it’s got one more on the list.” As long as Comcast participates in the connected TV space, either through its own consumer devices or in licensing its software to other TV makers, it’s going to need to support streaming apps used by device customers.
At the same time, Apple can clearly benefit from the new partnership. Apple has been investing heavily in original programming for its streaming platform, nabbing A-list Hollywood stars and just recently an MLB deal for Friday Night Baseball, but the tech behemoth has yet to explicitly state how many people are subscribed to the service. As of last September, reports surfaced that put the subscriber count in North America at under 20 million – a fraction of the totals enjoyed by leading services like Netflix and Disney+. Moreover, for the first year of Apple TV+’s life, numerous viewers were tuned in through a year-long free trial that Apple granted to purchasers of new iPhones and other Apple devices.
Interpret’s VideoWatch data shows that there is certainly plenty of room for growth for Apple TV+, judging by the Xfinity customer base in the US. Whereas 52% of Xfinity subscribers also subscribe to Netflix and 44% also subscribe to Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+ adoption is considerably behind at just 13% of Xfinity’s customers.