Comcast Lawyer Shelita Stewart Returns To Her Old DC Firm, Hogan Lovells

EARNINGS CALL

NBCU Rebounding As Comcast Cable Soars

Comcast CFO Mike Cavanagh is bullish on 2Q prospects: “We expect healthy growth in distribution revenue to continue. We will have significantly more sporting events compared to last year, which should result in higher advertising revenue, but also a significant increase in sports-related programming and production costs.”

QUARTERLY REPORT

Comcast Posts Big 1Q Earnings Beat, Peacock Hits 42 Million Signups

NBCUniversal’s streaming service Peacock had 42 million signups in the first quarter — up from the 33 million it reported three months ago — benefiting from the recent addition of exclusive domestic streaming rights to WWE Network and The Office. Parent Comcast also posted a huge earnings beat with EPS of $0.71 — up 54% from the year earlier, on revenue of $27.5 billion, up 2.5%.

NBCU CEO Jeff Shell’s 2020 Pay Hits $16.5M

Comcast also disclosed $32.7 million in 2020 compensation for its chairman and CEO Brian Roberts.

Comcast Moving Cartoon Network To Pricier Packages

Why Some On Wall Street Want AT&T And Comcast To Spin Off Media Units

The conglomerates, whose biggest financial contributors are telecom assets, continue to bet on the benefits of owning content and distribution businesses, but “pure-play” companies have gained investor favor.

Comcast To Show Chicago White Sox In 4K

AT&T’s Brenda Laboy Joins Comcast In Top Engineering Post

Comcast To Drop KCRA Sacramento From Some Systems

Wells Fargo Analyst Initiates Cable Distribution Coverage

Wells Fargo Securities media analyst Steven Cahall initiated coverage of the cable distribution sector on Tuesday, citing the businesses’ strength in broadband service, but joining the growing chorus of analysts calling for Comcast to spin off its NBCUniversal programming unit. Cahall, who already covers cable programmers, initiated the sector with an “overweight” rating on Cable One and Charter; “equal weight” for Altice USA and “underweight” for Comcast.

NBCU Invites The Industry To Develop Together At ONE21

NBCUniversal has unveiled its inaugural speaker lineup and event themes for ONE21, what it calls “a first-of-its-kind global gathering that will redefine what it means to develop and build with the leading media companies. ONE21 will bring together a massive community of developers across all industries — from technologists to creators and more — to […]

Could Flex Be Comcast’s Secret Weapon In Cord-Cutting Era?

Comcast’s Flex service, initially derided by some critics as a puzzling product without a clear market, is making a big difference in reducing churn on the company’s “center-of-the-plate” offering, Xfinity Broadband, said CFO Mike Cavanaugh Thursday. Xfinity Flex is a streaming device that puts multiple streaming apps in one place on the screen.

Peacock Startup Lost $914 Million For Comcast

Comcast’s new streaming service Peacock lost $914 million in 2020, including intra-company charges, the company disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Monday. Peacock, which launched on April 15, generated $118 million for the year, according to the filing. Comcast made the filing because it is changing the way it is accounting for some of its businesses.

Comcast Reports It Owns 9.3% Of FuboTV

Comcast on Friday reported that it owns a 9.3% stake worth more than $300 million in FuboTV, which operates a sports-focused virtual MVPD and is getting into the sports betting business. AMC Networks, reported earlier this week that it no longer owned any FuboTV shares.

Comcast To Drop 8 Stations In 12 Markets

Comcast has announced that it will remove eight local TV channels that it said in December it would keep after saying in November it would drop them.

EARNINGS CALL

Comcast Execs Optimistic For Olympics This Year

Even without the expected boost from carrying Olympics coverage, Peacock remains well ahead of internal projections and hit 33 million signups this week. Fourth quarter broadcast revenues were down 12% to $2.78 billion, partially offset by double-digit increases in retransmission consent fees.

QUARTERLY REPORT

Comcast Tops Revenue Expectation Despite Weakness At NBCUniversal

Comcast Corp on Thursday reported better than expected fourth-quarter revenue, as broadband demand continued to offset pandemic-related weakness in its theme park and filmed entertainment businesses. The media company gained 538,000 broadband subscribers in the quarter, beating analysts’ average estimate of 488,000 net additions, according to research firm FactSet.

Comcast, AT&T, Facebook Suspend Political Contributions

Comcast, AT&T, Hallmark and Facebook are joining the list of companies that are rearranging their political contributions and business relationships to distance themselves from President Trump and the G.O.P. the week after supporters of the president rioted at the U.S. Capitol.

Comcast Now Selling NHL Center Ice For $100

Comcast To Air 23 College Basketball Games In 4K

Comcast Will Now Keep 35 ‘Neighboring’ Channels

Comcast has reached an agreement with local broadcasters to continue carrying 35 local channels in 38 different markets which the cable operator said last month would be dropped on Dec. 22.

Comcast Adds HBO Max To Set-Tops

Comcast, Hearst Reach Retrans Deal

Comcast said it has quietly reached a retransmission consent agreement with Hearst TV stations across the country, including continued carriage of about 35 out-of-market stations in 38 markets that were originally expected to be dropped when the current deal expires on Dec. 31. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Cable TV Test Of 3.0 Coming To Portland, OR

Seven stations in the market are working together with Comcast to test how
NextGen TV signals could best be transmitted by cable TV systems.

FCC Doubles Down On OTT As Cable Competitor

The FCC has granted Cox and Comcast petitions for “effective competition” determinations in a number of Massachusetts counties, citing over-the-top service AT&T Now as the effective competitor.

Comcast Softens Hearst Retrans Notice

Comcast last month posted a notice on its website that 35 local channels in 38 different markets would be dropped on Dec. 22. However, the cable operator has updated the message to say the 35 channels “may” be removed, and that it’s now negotiating with the stations’ owner, Hearst Communications, to keep them.

Hill Dems Weigh In On Comcast Plan To Drop Hearst Stations

Four Massachusetts legislators have called on Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and Hearst President Jordan Wertlieb to negotiate in good faith and resolve their carriage dispute so that ABC affiliate WCVB Boston stays on Comcast’s system serving Bristol County, Mass., residents.

Comcast Executive David Cohen Eyeing Possible Jobs In Biden Administration

Comcast executive and longtime Philadelphia political power player David L. Cohen is hoping to join President-elect Joe Biden’s administration as either commerce secretary or a high-profile ambassador, according to former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell.

FreeWheel, NBCU In Ad Selling Partnership

NBCUniversal is using FreeWheel’s AutoScheduler technology to automate and optimize linear ad decisioning across all NBCU properties.

Comcast Must Face Sports TV Antitrust Suit

A federal judge partially accepts a complaint from Stan Kroenke’s Altitude Sports over a negotiating impasse with Comcast over a regional sports network.

NEWS ANALYSIS

Analyst: WarnerMedia, NBCU Should Merge

“It is time for both AT&T and Comcast to abandon the fool’s gold of vertical integration of content and distribution and merge NBCUniversal with WarnerMedia,” LightShedPartners analyst Richard Greenfield argued last week. Will this vision actually become reality? “We doubt it,” he adds.

Comcast Dropping Stations In 38 Markets

In those markets, Comcast now provides more than one affiliate for at least one network. The reason for the dual coverage is that some residents have interest in news from both areas because they live roughly the same distance from each. (The 38 markets are largely in rural/suburban areas.) However, Comcast has had to pay the owners of both stations to deliver their signals. And with pay TV operators looking to cut programming costs, the cable operator has decided to jettison one of the two affiliates in the 38 markets.

Comcast To fold Comcast Ventures Into Corporate Business Division

Comcast, TiVo End 4-Year Patent Fight

New TiVo parent company Xperi Holdings reaches a retroactive IP licensing deal with the cable giant that runs from 2016 to 2031.

Comcast, Walmart In Talks To Develop, Distribute Smart TVs

Under the terms the companies are discussing, retail giant Walmart would promote TV sets running Comcast software, and would get a share of recurring revenue from Comcast in return.

EARNINGS CALL

Comcast Touts 3Q NBC And Peacock Strengths

Broadcast television revenue increased 8.3%, driven by 66% growth in content licensing sales and continued growth in retransmission consent fees, partially offset by a decline in advertising. In addition, new streamer Peacock has been running well ahead of its targets, surpassing 22 million users during the third quarter.

QUARTERLY REPORT

Comcast 3Q Sales, Profits Dip

Consumer demand for high-speed internet surged last quarter at NBCUniversal parent Comcast even as theme park revenue plunged 80% in a mixed earnings report that reflected the ongoing pandemic. Peacock sign-ups hit 22 million, exceeding every internal engagement metric for the new streaming service — even without the Olympics or The Office — the company said Thursday. Revenue at NBCUniversal fell about 19% to $6.7 billion in quarter.

NAD Has Issues With Comcast’s ‘Best In-Home Wi-Fi’ Ad Claim

Splitting Up Comcast, NBCU Could ‘Unlock Value’

Comcast may be under pressure to split up its cable and media businesses and one analyst says that such a move could unlock value for both assets. Trian Fund Management has taken a stake in Comcast and begun conversations with executives under the assumption that the company’s stock is undervalued.

Roku And Peacock Clash Over Carriage

Roku, a major streaming gatekeeper, has reached an impasse with NBCUniversal over its nascent Peacock service and a swath of NBCU apps is about to go dark as a result. As soon as overnight Friday into Saturday, 11 national “TV Everywhere” apps, which are available to pay-TV subscribers, will disappear due to the dispute. Dozens of other local apps from NBC and Telemundo stations, which are available only to Roku viewers in those local markets, are also hanging in the balance.