Archive for June, 2011


The other day, Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) announced a partnership with Skype, to allow–among other things–video chat on your TV while watching shows.

In addition to the usual candy-coated and breathless quotes from company officials, the NY Times had this comment:  “Cable companies like Comcast have been trying to figure out how to make it easier to chat while watching shows.”  That should have read, “...trying to figure out how to make money from subscribers while they’re chatting during shows.”

May I be among the first to say “Epic Fail”?

People are already chatting while watching shows; some of them on video, surely many on Skype.  For free.  I get using your TV as a large videoconference screen incorporating Skype.  That has value.  But how many are going to pay Comcast a hefty monthly charge so their friend’s face appears next to their favorite show on the TV set , instead of their tablet or iPhone?   Not many, I bet.

Oh, they will undoubtedly snag some consumers who don’t know about Skype already, and who think the idea of chatting with Grandpa over American Idol (assuming you’re both watching live) is cool.  I suspect there aren’t many of those.

Interesting how instead of watching together in one room, the industry vision has become one in which we’re in separate domiciles watching the same thing at the same time, using the Internet to chat about what’s happening on screen.  Looks like Isaac Asimov had it right all along.

Perhaps there are other benefits from a Skype/Comcast hookup.  I’m not holding my breath on this one.

Disclosure: I hold no position, either long or short, in any stocks mentioned here.

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June 16, 2011 at 9:36 am Leave a comment

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