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Netflix says users will like its Comcast deal, but investors won’t really care

“It will help modestly.”

Asa Mathat
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Netflix stock jumped this month when Recode reported that Comcast was going to integrate the streaming service into its set-top boxes.

But while that’s the kind of deal Netflix has chased for years — and a deal that seemed hard to imagine in recent years as the two companies sparred publicly and privately — now that Netflix has it, it doesn’t think it’s going to move the needle on its business.

That’s because many Comcast customers who want an easy way to get their hands on Netflix already have an easy way to get their hands on Netflix, via internet-connected TVs and devices, says CEO Reed Hastings.

In Hastings’s Q2 shareholder letter, he sort-of suggested that there could be a “boost” when the two companies integrate later this year, but said he didn’t want to factor it into his forecasts because he didn’t know when it would happen.

But during the company’s earnings call this afternoon, Hastings said any increase wouldn’t be a big increase.

“You know, it will help modestly. Again, we’re more penetrated than we were before,” Hastings said. “So I don’t know that it’s as big a breakthrough, because many of those Comcast households have a smart TV or have a Roku, but it will certainly help.”

The upside, Hastings said, will be for Comcast users who are Netflix users, because it will be that much easier to move from conventional TV to Netflix. “But from a user perspective, to just live on a Comcast remote, and just stay on that input, without having to switch inputs, is a great thing for them.”

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