Comcast Looking To Buy Vizio? Maybe Not, But Media Consolidation Is Coming

Media consolidation in the streaming and the connected TV space seems to be coming -- even if you don’t believe one eye-opening report that Comcast Corp. may be eyeing a deal to acquire Vizio, the TV set manufacturer and growing streaming/connected TV (CTV) platform, according to Protocol.

A Comcast representative had no comment in response to inquiries from TV Watch.

This news follows a recent 50-50 joint venture deal between Comcast and Charter Communications to form a new streaming distribution business based on the back of Comcast's current Flex platform and hardware business. Comcast's XClass TV retail operations will be part of the deal.

Analysts believe the goal is to compete as a platform like Roku or Amazon Fire TV -- a streaming/CTV platform that could offer thousands of streaming apps and services.

But to do this any traditional cableTV provider would need deeper connections, and that means aligning with actual smart TV sets manufacturers.

For its part, Vizio has also been looking to grow -- not only versus Roku and Amazon but TV set manufacturers that have also set up their own smart TV platforms, including heavyweights Samsung and LG.

Comcast already has nurtured some of this with a 'XClass’TV brand (riffing off its Xfinity service) through a deal with China-based TV set maker Hisense, which got going in September.

For its part, Roku has a co-branded deal with Chinese-based TCL.

Last fall, Amazon started making and selling its own branded Amazon Fire TV, partnering with TV set maker Toshiba, and Best Buy in-house TV brand, Insignia.

Smart TV platforms, of course, go beyond previous technology iterations that Roku and Amazon Fire TV started out with, that being separate set top boxes, sticks, or other external TV sets devices.

Many might believe this is too little, too late for even the biggest players to get into the market -- especially when just looking at Roku and Amazon Fire TV, which have 50 million to 60 million monthly active users each for their respective producers.

Samsung has 45 million smart TV households -- just in the U.S -- while Vizio in the U.S. is at about half that -- coming in at 20 million.

So these are the numbers that any new competitor must consider.

All that leads us to wonder: Wasn't Apple, a big popular digital device manufacturer at one time looking to manufacture its own TV sets, coupled with a jazzy new smart TV platform? That ship has seemed to be well on its journey -- and maybe other big media/technology companies as well.

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