It's the latest step toward what has become a kind of holy grail in TV — greater integration between traditional cable content and online video that's streamed over the Internet. The search for a merged solution has been complicated by fights over the future of TV technology and efforts by regulators to force greater creativity and competition in the kinds of user interfaces consumers have access to when they're looking to browse TV content.
The deal, first reported by Re/code, also benefits Netflix in its effort to reach virtually every household in the world. Netflix's strategy has had a few major components: First, it made watching Internet TV incredibly easy. Second, it started creating original content to make Netflix a more compelling destination. Third, it's got its eyes set on a fast-growing international market as the rest of the world comes online.
But Netflix also knows that it faces competition at home from other streaming services, such as Hulu and Amazon Prime Video. Amazon's market share in the streaming video space is rising slowly but steadily, from 1.31 percent of all U.S. Internet traffic at peak hours three years ago to 4.26 percent today.
So Netflix is trying to insulate itself by dealing with Comcast, putting its content front and center and making it easier for people to choose it over its rivals. Although this isn't the first time Netflix has struck such an agreement, it is the first such deal with a mammoth cable provider. (Comcast is the nation's biggest.)
Comcast and Netflix have a mixed history; the two companies were on opposite sides of a big debate over whether Comcast should be allowed to buy up Time Warner Cable, and have disagreed on how the government should regulate Internet providers.
But it appears that, at least for now, Comcast and Netflix have buried the hatchet.