Comcast Corp. this week announced plans to acquire contact management company Plaxo. As a result, Comcast will add social networking functionality and other services to its websites: Comcast.net, Fancast.com and Fandango.com. The company's cable subscribers will, at some point, be able to access the social networking features through their set-top boxes and other cable-related devices. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Plaxo enables users to stay connected by allowing them to automatically update their contact information through updates it sends to their friends' address books. Plaxo also runs Pulse, a social networking site.
According to news reports, Comcast has been focused on expanding the features of its Comcast.net site as part of an overall Internet expansion strategy.
This is a very interesting development, and it represents a merging of media types that could be a sign of things to come.
Comcast recognizes the strong and growing interest in social networking among consumers. And as social networking continues to engage people online, it's a smart move by Comcast to add such capabilities to its websites to draw people there. Of course, once people visit for the social networking aspects, the goal will be to keep them there to take advantage of Comcast's other online offerings.
Comcast, like most cable providers, have already been attempting to become all things to all people--as they have, in recent years, bundled television, phone and Internet services in one package for consumers. If it's successful, this Plaxo deal will further connect Comcast to customers seeking a "one-stop-shop" media services company.