As cable operators use such initiatives as TV Everywhere to reposition themselves as multi-platform content platforms, Amy Banse’s employer, Comcast, has been particularly aggressive both in launching new services and repositioning itself as a new kind of multichannel, multi-platform provider.
In December, Comcast was the first cable-system operator to launch a customer-authentication product in the Fancast Xfinity TV service, which makes thousands of hours of TV shows available online to current cable and high-speed Internet subscribers. In February, it launched a massive Xfinity rebranding campaign of its triple-play voice, video and data offering, positioning the new brand as a platform that provides consumers with more of everything—speed, content, HD, choice and control over their services.
The Xfinity brand was conceived on the cable side of the business, but Banse’s Comcast Interactive Media division has developed a number of the products, such as Fancast Xfinity TV, that are so important in delivering on the new moniker’s brand promise—making Banse one of this year’s notable Brand Builders.
Building Comcast’s brand was part of CIM’s DNA right from the start, according to Banse. “When CIM was launched in December 2005, we saw that the world was evolving to a place where consumers would want to consume content on more than one screen and we wanted to start to think about how we could make that happen,” she says. “There was also a recognition that we were on our way to becoming—and have since become—the largest residential Internet-service provider.
“We wanted to leverage that position and build that brand just as we leveraged our distribution to build cable programming networks in the past,” Banse says.
When Banse was picked to launch and head CIM, she had already played a key role in expanding Comcast’s programming portfolio, negotiating a number of major content investments and spearheading the launch of such channels as G4, PBS Kids Sprout, TV One and the regional Comcast SportsNet channels.
“I had worked with [Comcast Chairman and CEO] Brian [Roberts] in building out the content portfolio and we wanted to see if we could replicate that online,” Banse says.
Early on, CIM focused on acquisitions, including the movie-ticketing site Fandango, Daily Candy, Plaxo and thePlatform. Those products have done more than produce significant revenue growth for Banse’s division—they’ve allowed CIM to “acquire some real talent that contributed significantly to the products we’ve gone on to build internally here,” she says.
The products included Comcast’s authentication system for Fancast Xfinity TV; its myDVR product, which allows customers to program their digital video recorder settops online; and an application that allows Comcast subscribers to use their Apple iPad as a remote, as demonstrated by Roberts at The Cable Show in Los Angeles.
Where the Brand Builders Are
2010 Brand Builder Amy Banse is scheduled to speak on day two of the Promax/BDA Conference.
What: Media Leaders’ Summit
When: June 23, 3:30 p.m. Where: Diamond Ballroom, JW Marriott, LA Live
Details: The content revolution is here, and your survival depends on how you, your companies and your business adapts. These innovators and culture shapers discuss the evolution of content and the future of the entertainment business.
Moderator: Staci Kramer, Co-Editor and EVP, ContentNext Media
Panelists: Neil Ashe, President, CBS Interactive; Amy Banse, President, Comcast Interactive Media; Albert Cheng, EVP, Digital Media, Disney ABC Television Group