If you ran a cable company facing the very real phenomenon of cord-cutting and you’re approached about a partnership by one of the companies that has arguably done more to spur cord-cutting than any other, what would you say?
If you’re Comcast, the answer is simple: ‘take a hike.’ And according to the New York Times, that’s precisely what it has told Netflix.
As previously reported, Netflix has been exploring the idea of partnering with cable companies to bring Netflix to cable subscribers. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings was recently explained the logic:
It’s not in the short term, but it’s in the natural direction for us in the long term. [But] many (cable service providers) would like to have a competitor to HBO, and they would bid us off of HBO.
Apparently, however, Netflix has been busy trying to plot its long-term strategy, and that included discussions with major cable companies like Netflix. The New York Times details the response:
Comcast, the country’s largest cable company, says it has no interest in offering Netflix to its Xfinity subscribers regardless of whether it’s in the form of an on-demand service or a billing partnership.
“We have no plans to offer access to Netflix to our customers through our Xfinity TV service, no matter what device,” the trade publication Fierce Cable quoted a Comcast spokeswoman, Alana Davis, as saying on Wednesday.
Part of the rejection may stem from the fact that Netflix hasn’t done cable companies any favors over the past several years. But it’s also pragmatic.
As the Times notes, Comcast already has its own Netflix-like service, Streampix, so partnering with Netflix itself would arguably just cannibalize Streampix.
But all is not lost for Netflix. While a Comcast rejection is painful seeing that it is by far the largest cable company in the United States, it could help the company close deals with Comcast competitors.
As The Verge’s Jamie Keene observes, “the company’s rivals like Time Warner, Cox, and Bright House could still adopt Netflix as a means of attracting customers and differentiating themselves from Comcast’s offerings”.
From this perspective, Netflix’s Comcast rejection could actually prove helpful in the long run as the company seeks to nudge its way into an industry that it for so long sought to compete against.