Word that a private equity firm backed by Comcast invested $250 million in Groupon on Monday left me thinking about a Comcast patent application I ran across a few years ago that detailed how the MSO may be able to offer group discounts to Xfinity subscribers interested in buying the same video-on-demand title.
Cable chief Neil Smit noted in Monday’s announcement that Comcast sees potential in “combining Groupon’s local expertise with Comcast’s vast subscriber and advertiser network.”
While Smit didn’t offer additional details, one strategy Comcast could pursue would be to incent subscribers to use social networks to promote discounts on video-on-demand and pay-per-view TV shows, movies and events. At least that’s the scenario outlined in a patent issued to Comcast in March 2015 for an invention, titled, “Media Content Delivery.”
“In a single tier discount system, the one or more media content may be offered at $7 if 500 end users or content consumers have accepted the media content offer. In a double tier discount structure, the one or more media content may be offered at $6 if 800 end users or content consumers have accepted the media content offer and $7 if 500 end users or content consumers have accepted the media content offer. The discount structure may include any number of tiers,” Comcast states in the patent.
The $250 million investment that Groupon announced on Monday came from Atairos, the investment firm that former Comcast CFO Michael Angelakis launched last year with a commitment of $4 billion in funding from Comcast.