Comcast leverages Adobe Primetime to streamline distribution and monetization of pay-TV service to millions of subscribers across desktops and devices

By: Staff | Jun 27 2016

Every day, millions of Americans use Comcast to enjoy their favorite TV shows, surf the web, or connect with family and friends. Comcast is the largest mass media and communications company in the world, with 23 million cable subscribers. As the number of screens in a typical household grows, customers are increasingly interested in carrying their entertainment with them and watching television shows whenever and wherever they want.

“We’ve seen a shift from vertically siloed services to services that combine digital cable, Internet, and television,” says Sree Kotay, chief software architect at Comcast. “Television isn’t just about a box in the living room anymore. Viewers want to watch their favorite shows on computers, game consoles, and mobile devices, and we need to deliver.” By providing consistent, high-quality services across devices with Adobe Primetime, Comcast can quickly reach new audiences and deliver more value for pay TV. 

Something for every device

Every year, Comcast customers bring new devices to the digital ecosystem. When working with such a large variety of endpoints, having a consistent infrastructure is essential to scaling quickly. Standardizing on Adobe Primetime enables Comcast to easily deliver video to almost any screen.

Comcast uses a unified Adobe Primetime digital rights management (DRM) and player framework to deliver studio-quality content. “Working with a common format through Adobe Primetime allows us to quickly bring our services to new devices,” says Allen Broome, vice president of IP video engineering at Comcast.

Having established digital video workflows over the past 15 years, Comcast needed a solution that could easily fit within existing infrastructure. The modular approach makes Adobe Primetime more cost-effective compared to custom solutions, and enables Comcast to take advantage of new technologies faster.

Adobe Primetime includes scalable, efficient DRM workflows that meet studio-mandated requirements for securing programming developed by content providers. By providing a consistent DRM solution across all video, Comcast can improve operational efficiency. “Developers don’t need to understand the complexities of DRM to apply it correctly, keeping the focus on delivering a superior user experience,” says Broome.

Next-generation programming

Comcast currently uses Adobe Primetime as the core of all of its IP-based video playback, including interactive TV experiences through its next-generation XFINITY X1 Platform. No matter how viewers access programming, they get the same great video features, which can include secondary audio options, closed captioning, or even alternate angles.

The video platform built using Adobe Primetime also shows greater performance on devices, with fewer errors, faster startup times, quick downloads, and more consistent streaming experiences. The result has been a noticeable boost in customer satisfaction. “After implementing Adobe Primetime, the iTunes app rating jumped from 2.5 to 4 stars,” says Kotay. “We’re also seeing increased app and video engagement, indicating that we’re providing a stronger customer experience.”

Expanding revenue streams

Comcast is focusing on leveraging the analytics and monetization capabilities in Adobe Primetime to create tailored ad and content experience. “We see personalization as a key driver for future growth,” says Broome. “Adobe Primetime opens doors to deliver personalized advertisements and content to audiences.” 

The ad decisioning capability in Adobe Primetime is used to automate regional blackouts in which broadcasting contracts prevent live programming, such as sporting events, from being broadcast in certain regions. Adobe Primetime handles blackouts by seamlessly switching to alternate content. Working with dynamic blackout events eliminates the need to switch content for each region, creating efficiencies for engineers while improving compliance with carriage agreements.

Comcast also uses Adobe Primetime to expand into new service areas. For example, the company can reach new young audiences with its Xfinity on Campus service, which will be available on select university campuses. “To continue to stay on top, we need to follow our audiences wherever they go,” says Broome. “Adobe Primetime gives us a unified video platform that helps us quickly and easily bring high-quality video to new audiences and devices.” 

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More information available in the attached PDF.

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