Watch This: Comcast and DirecTV Square Off

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Blog

Comcast and DirecTV both have effective blog strategies. Comcast Voices, Comcast's corporate blog site, is well-curated and beautifully designed. The content is rich and touches on everything from community info to entertainment to sports. XFINITY has a separate, and equally strong, blog, as well.

DirecTV takes a more classic approach to its blog, which makes it feel a little less unique and original. Still, the content is solid and the site is consistently active. The Comcast blog definitely gets points for its rich design, but there's still something nice about the traditional, organic feel of DirecTV's page. This one's close, but the slight edge goes to Comcast.

Website

Here again, Comcast gets points for design. The company's corporate site is vibrant, panoramic, and very easy to navigate. The content is bite-sized and accessible, and a “less is more” approach means a better experience for the user. Comcast's other sites also perform well. Comcast.com is transactional and features products, special offers, and support. XFINITY's site serves as an information portal where customers can access their email, send texts, manage their DVR, and see TV listings.

DirecTV's website is much more centralized. The site is fully integrated, transactional, and allows visitors to access their accounts, the corporate site and their content, all in the same place. 

Comcast's decentralized approach isn't necessarily better than DirecTV's centralized strategy (that comes down to personal preference). But visually, Comcast simply does a better job.

Mobile

I was able to find nine different Comcast apps in the app store. Overall, the user experience is stunning and each app is beautifully designed. However, this is a case in which simplicity might be better. The fragmented approach mirrors Comcast's Web strategy, but keeping track of so many apps can be confusing for the user.

DirecTV only has two apps, one for live streaming and Nomad, which allows users to access their DVR content on their smartphones and tablets. The DirecTV apps perform well and look good, and fewer apps means better focus.

Comcast's mobile website is easy to navigate, visually beautiful and feels like a natural extension of the company's website. By contrast, DirecTV's mobile site feels like an afterthought. Considering how much time people spend on their mobile devices, it's surprising that DirecTV would drop the ball in such a big way. This one goes to Comcast.

Customer support

Comcast has a really strong support site, which includes a personalized dashboard, information about service, and recently viewed content. Quick links provide answers to many questions and the keyword search is right up front. Support sites, in general, tend to be cluttered, but Comcast's curated strategy makes the site welcoming and its content easy to find.

DirecTV is clearly trying to follow Comcast's lead. The Answer Center has a lot of information, which is organized by topic. How-to video content is also integrated into DirecTV's support site. DirecTV does fine, but Comcast sets a new standard for how support sites should work.

Brand Champion 

Comcast and DirecTV both do some things very well, but in certain areas, they would be well-served to follow the other's example.

Comcast essentially forfeited the Pinterest and Google+ rounds, which points to Comcast's need to expand and integrate its social media strategy. With the exception of LinkedIn, DirecTV does a great job of leveraging its social media channels. Each one feeds the others and ultimately drives traffic back to the DirecTV website.

But what Comcast lacks in integration, it makes up for in design. The company's website, blogs, mobile site, and mobile apps are extremely well-done and reflect a creative edge that sets the brand apart from DirecTV.

This battle is actually a lot closer than the scorecard indicates—but after 10 rounds, DirecTV is your champion.

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