But, you may then be asking, what could a cable giant with lots of revenues driven from digital video have in common with Wal-Mart? Well, a unity between the two (in spirit, anyway) could become evident if the operator continues to move in a concerted direction that positions itself as a one-stop-shop experience for customers.
Comcast's current offerings include broadband Internet, digital video (including hi-def), video-on-demand, telephony, cable advertising, and mobile WiMax (through the Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR) partnership). And it appears poised to take control of NBC Universal and take a much bigger stake in popular content and how that content is distributed. What else does Comcast need to become the one place where consumers can get their broadband and entertainment fix?
Keep in mind that to be like Wal-Mart, Comcast would have to offer a substantial reason for consumers to not cut the cord, including doing more with services and companies such as Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX), Apple TV, and Boxee . It has been clear for a long time that offering a bundled package is a consumer-friendly endeavor. Just contemplate what Wal-Mart has accomplished by using economies of scale to drop prices through the floor.
Suffice it to say, if Comcast is serious about stopping migration away from its current services, then it should consider an über bundle, including all the popular content and applications, and offer a price and service package that no one else can emulate.
It will then truly be able to harness the power of economic scale and turn cable into a Wal-Mart experience. [Ed. note: But is that necessarily a good thing?]
— Leonard Grace, a cable industry vet, is a telecom strategist and blogger. He can be reached at [email protected]. Special to