When your team works as hard and long on a project, like the experience we built for the 2018 Winter Olympics, its nice to step back and see what those outside your company think of what you shipped. And even better if it’s positive. 🙂 Here’s a roundup of my favorite clippings so far:
Engadget sat down at CES and offered a balanced view of the exclusive features that XFINITY customers will get on X1 and Stream App for the Winter Games.
Forbes piece highlighting our new virtual Olympics channels which dynamically pull together the best around key topics and sports which the journalist defined as “…the result feels like the future.” Article talks about blurring the lines between traditional TV and streaming.
From one Olympics fan to another, Gear Diary highlighted how if you have XFINITY X1 “your experience is about to jump to a whole new level!”
With my friend and neighbor Jim Kozimor announcing Curling for NBC I was thrilled to see Bloomberg pickup on how our virtual channels are a great way to catchup on one of the most unique of Olympic sports.
CNET also zeroed in how our editors and algorithms will play the role DJ in how we curate Olympics Channels much like Spotify does music.
I really enjoyed this lively podcast interview of my good friend Vito Forlenza around what sports we expect to be popular and what we together learned from the Rio Olympics experience.
Variety grasped the key behavioral change we’re seeing in PyeongChange of Voice Searching. We are seeing nearly 50% of all traffic to the Olympics Home screen come from the X1 Voice Remote… up 2X from Rio in 2016. Voice searching is just so natural it’s becoming dominant.
[developing story – will likely ad more as games progress]
Growing up I wasn’t much of a football fan but having spent the last 5 years building features for sports fans… It’s become a passion of mine and one that I’ve dug deep on in terms of customer needs all in the name of “research” right?
Despite the headlines of ebbing viewership of football… It still represents 1/3 of the top 100 programs overall (NFL 29, NCAAF 2) in the last year and remains the biggest deal in TV… period. The only thing close is the Olympics, NBA Finals, World Series and major live awards shows like the Oscar’s… and no not Game of Thrones or House of Cards—they don’t come close in terms of delivering massive audiences.
So naturally my team at Comcast focuses hard on sports fans–still unclear why other TV providers seem fine ceding us such a lead in terms of differentiation on the experience but fine by me. 😉
My team’s feature lineup
Here’s the key features we’ve built to help the sports fan…
- Sports Guide: new this season is destination for all things football including a live scores strip, live games, replays, commentary and more. And for the first time we’ve extended that to the XFINITY Stream App so you can tune into the game while on the go (or when you can’t get control of the house TV) including broadcast channels like NBC and ABC both in and out of the home.
- Fantasy Football: Also new this season is a partnership with CBS Fantasy offering a personalized view of your matchups–allowing you to track the action right on your TV. Below is a view of my picks trouncing my fantasy league commissioner this week (sorry Ralph–I couldn’t resist) including ranking and analysis.
- Sports Companion: The X1 Sports App allows you to keep tabs across the leagues with realtime scores, deep statistical analysis, and ability to tune in or catch-up on replays. A majority of our fans also personalize their view enabling all their favoriting teams to appear in one place regardless of what sport it is.
- X1 Voice Remote: greatly enhanced this season and now with full coverage of not just NFL but also NCAAF, MLB, NBA, NHL, and NCAAB. Now you can say things like “top running backs in NFL” or “Le’Veon Bell vs David Johnson stats” using your Voice Remote. Can’t watch an NFL game you’re interested in? Just ask for the team stats for any live or recently completed game (e.g. “what’s the score of the 49ers game?”) to get real-time stats.
Bringing it all together
This marks the 4 year anniversary of working together with the founders of OneTwoSee and 18 months since I led the acquisition of the company. Since joining Comcast, Jason Angelides and Chris Reynolds have taken on leadership for this area under me and have led the team to even greater heights including these innovations. Their team combined with their engineering counterpart fellow Cal Poly Eng alum Matt Barbour deserve a ton of credit for not only picking winning features to build but for operating a set of features used by 1 in 4 X1 households every month… a total of half-a-billion times last year. How high will we reach this season? Can’t wait to find out but the first two weeks of football under our belt look promising even as we lap last year which followed the strong Rio Olympics.
What’s driving my team?
Since civilization began and the Greeks held the first Olympics 2,000 years ago sports has been watched live–and to this day it’s still by far he best way to watch whether you’re in the stadium or at home. However those rights aren’t cheap and PwC reports next year TV licensing rights will exceed venue ticket sales in terms of revenue for sports leagues. So at Comcast my team aims to make the most of those rights by making it easy and fun to follow live sports and ultimately tune into the games–making the rights worth it. So we’ll continue to expand what you can watch (e.g. streaming every Olympics event live) and make your sports experience personalized around what sports, teams and players you care about.
I hope you enjoy this football season and for those of you lucky enough to be Comcast X1 customers… 🙂 let me know what you think. We’re always aiming to make your experience better.
Today at Comcast we announced the acquisition of Philly-based sports startup OneTwoSee will join the rest of my Sunnyvale-based team to form what I think will be the best sports technology team in the business. From my post on Comcast Voices:
They not only bolster our efforts to build a best-in-class sports TV experience but also underscore our commitment to partnering with and investing in the local start-up community in this great city. I’d like to personally welcome Jason Angelides, Chris Reynolds and the rest of their team; they will retain their Philadelphia offices – just across the street from the Comcast Center – and report up through me.
OneTwoSee has played a huge role in our efforts to make X1 an awesome place for sports fans. In the past year, we’ve worked with them to reengineer our X1 sports app – initially launched with the platform to help fans check scores, standings, and schedules for games – into an interactive and immersive companion experience giving fans more data and statistics than ever before.
Usage of the sports app is now up fivefold from the winter of 2015 and now used by one in four X1 households on a weekly basis.
I’m so happy that Comcast’s been so supportive of my team’s efforts including this latest move. And if you don’t believe my words, here’s a mug shot of me with the founders as we announced the news… 🙂
Finally, here’s a roundup of some more of the day’s coverage:
This week one of my development teams launched a new feature in partnership with Philly startup OneTwoSee that I’m particularly proud of.
Excerpt from my post on the Comcast Corporate Blog:
When I sit down to watch a baseball game, it’s fun trying to think like a major league manager, guess- along with player moves and assess each pitcher-batter match-up. Secretly, I really just want to be a better coach of my son’s little league team. But unless the station I’m watching shows a specific relevant stat or I take my eyes off the game to look something up on my phone, my armchair decisions are usually based more on gut than data.
Our Xfinity Sports App on X1 has always been a fun, helpful companion to the main event, but starting today we are dramatically improving the experience for baseball lovers by re-engineering the app to give fans more data and statistics than ever before.
With the addition of the Baseball Extras, the new X1 Sports app will be one of the most in-depth, TV sports companion tools in the country, providing pre-game matchups, live batter-by-batter stats, and full post-game analysis – all on the same screen as the game itself, for no extra charge. Read more…
Here’s a roundup of some of the coverage:
I love seeing the Sports App on X1 our team here made while it’s March Madness.
Whenever you want to catchup on the tournament just launch the app on your TV, browse all the live games, and click on the one you want to watch (no need to remember if its CBS, TNT, truTV, etc).
Then while you watch that game you can decide to keep a detailed “game cast” for a 2nd game up so you can decide when you want to hop around.
While we’re working on lots more improvements to this popular app, its great seeing the basics work during a big event like this.
Not at home? XFINTY subscribers can stream all the games live to a tablet or computer: