Comcast declined to comment ... But the company's discussions with Netflix revealed a sharp turn from just a year and a half ago, when it promoted a partial alternative to Netflix called Streampix for its customers. Back then, Comcast said it wanted to "give customers no reason to go anywhere else."
Comcast has said relatively little about Streampix since.That ended this past Friday, as the truth jumped in front of the Netflix fairy tale. Those talks Netflix was reportedly having with cable companies, according to my sources, never happened or, if on some level they did, weren't nearly as substantive or as far along as the media made them out to be in its frenzy of Netflix Could Be Coming to Cable stories (as Netflix sat back and watched). And, newsflash to The New York Times, Streampix is "back!"
- High-level television industry sources note that not only is the talk about Netflix coming to cable premature, but a) there isn't serious interest to make it happen, particularly on the part of Comcast and Time Warner Cable (TWC) and b) when large cable television investors got wind of last week's Netflix in Talks with Cable Companies reports they freaked out, immediately flooding the executive offices of big cable companies with You Guys Can't Be Serious and Must Be Crazy phone calls.
- Expect more deals like the Comcast one with basic cable, basic Internet, a cable-company backed streaming offering, HBO and HBO GO to appear soon. This is not what Netflix wants, but when Time Warner Cable, for example, announces a similar package (and I'm almost certain it will) it's likely to include HBO, not Netflix.
(Netflix) also acknowledged that the company was in talks with some cable operators about making Netflix accessible through set-top boxes, but they said that this sort of integration would take years to achieve.That bit from Stelter and his Oct. 14 piece basically jibes with what Netflix officially stated in its Q3 Letter to Shareholders:
We are open to more of these integrations with cable set-tops around the world (Netflix recently signed an integration deal with the UK's Virgin Media), but given the fragmented technology footprints, we think it will be many years before cable set-top boxes match Internet set-top boxes for Netflix streaming volume.While they let the Netflix to Cable headlines blare a week or so prior, days before the Comcast/HBO deal goes public, Hastings and his Chief Financial Officer David Wells claim technological hurdles stand in the way of making Netflix part of cable.
Let me take the questions one at a time. On the Netflix side, really there's nothing to report. It's been, frankly, incredible to me the amount of press coverage this has received. Our customers can receive Netflix in a number of ways, so it's not really a high priority for us. We're open to putting apps on our X1 platform. We have, for example, Facebook and Pandora there now. But at this point, we don't really have anything to report on the Netflix front.Yes, Neil, it's been incredible to me as well. Follow @rocco_thestreet -- Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.