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Next week, Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA) starts the tricky task of splitting in two: keeping its corporate brand intact while creating an entirely new brand for its current and upcoming consumer cable products. COO Steve Burke told analysts during the Q4 earnings call Wednesday that the rebranding to Xfinity will roll out first in 11 markets, then to nearly half the footprint in the next few months and will reach the majority of Comcast’s markets this year. If the name sounds familiar, it’s already in use for Comcast’s just-launched TV Everywhere service: Fancast Xfinity.
For Burke and others at Comcast, the new brand “encompasses our robust technology platform, expanded services we are offering today, and the future innovations we are planning to deliver.” Another way to look at it: Xfinity is a way to stress what Comcast has coming, not what it has been, to give customers a new bottle and a blend of old and new beer at the same time. Xfinity began with Project Infinity in w3008, (Comcast Cable vet Dave Watson went into more detail on the company blog.
Will it be a distinction without a difference for Comcast’s subs or the new customers the company want to reach? It’s hard to imagine a year from now that the average cable or ISP sub will be talking about getting Xfinity instead of Comcast. But it could be a way to get prospective subs to take another look.
Roberts on device explosion: Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts announced the underpinnings of what Comcast is calling Xfinity at CES in 2008. Asked about the iPad and other devices during the call, Roberts said he saw parts of the presentation but doesn’t have a lot of specifics. “I think there is an incredible time for innovation going on right now, and I don