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Xfinity

Comcast Corporation
Public
Traded as S&P 500 Component
Industry Telecommunications
Mass media
Founded Tupelo, Mississippi, United States
(June 28, 1963)
Founder(s) Ralph J. Roberts
Daniel Aaron
Julian A. Brodsky
Headquarters One Comcast Center
1701 John F Kennedy Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19103-2838[1]
Area served Worldwide [2]
Key people Brian L. Roberts
(Chairman, President, & CEO)
Products Xfinity
(cable television, broadband internet, digital voice), home networking
NBCUniversal
Comcast-Spectacor
Comcast Interactive Media
Broadcasting, radio
Revenue Increase US$ 62.570 billion (2012)[3]
Operating income Increase US$ 12.179 billion (2012)[3]
Net income Increase US$ 6.203 billion (2012)[3]
Total assets Increase US$ 164.971 billion (2012)[3]
Total equity Increase US$ 49.356 billion (2012[3]
Employees 129,000 (Dec 2012)[3]
Subsidiaries NBCUniversal
Comcast-Spectacor (63%, remaining stock owned by chair Ed Snider)
Website

Comcast Corporation is the largest mass media and communications company in the world by revenue.[2] It is the largest cable company and home Internet service provider in the United States, and the nation's third largest home telephone service provider. Comcast provides cable television, broadband Internet, telephone service and in some areas home security (including burglar alarms, surveillance cameras, fire alarm systems and home automation) to both residential and commercial customers in 40 states and the District of Columbia.[4] Since January 2011, having acquired the majority of the international media company NBCUniversal is also a producer of film and television contents, operates cable channels, national channels (NBC and Telemundo), the major film Universal Pictures and Theme Parks.[3]

The company is headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In January 2011, Comcast acquired a 51% majority stake in media conglomerate NBCUniversal from GE,[5] and began the process of purchasing the remaining 49% on February 12, 2013, at a cost of $16.7 billion.[6] It completed the purchase on March 19, 2013.[7][8] Comcast also has significant holding in several cable networks (including E! Entertainment Television, the Golf Channel, and NBC Sports Network), distribution (ThePlatform), and related businesses.

Comcast has been the subject of criticism for activities including its stance on net neutrality,[9][10] as well as poor results on customer satisfaction surveys.[11][12]

History


Comcast Cable was originally formed as American Cable Systems in 1963[13] and was founded by Ralph J. Roberts, Daniel Aaron and Julian A. Brodsky based on a recommendation from Pete Musser, who brought the deal to Ralph Roberts to buy his first cable system in Tupelo, Mississippi. The company was incorporated in Pennsylvania in 1969, under the new name Comcast Corporation.[14] The name "Comcast" is a portmanteau of the words "Communication" and "Broadcast".[15]

Over a number of years, Comcast became majority owner of Spectacor (renamed to Comcast Spectacor), Comcast SportsNet (in Philadelphia, Chicago, Michigan, Washington DC/Baltimore, New England, the San Francisco Bay Area, the Pacific Northwest and metro Sacramento), as well as E! Entertainment Television, Style Network (now Esquire Network), Golf Channel and NBC Sports Network (formerly the Outdoor Life Network, then Versus). In 2006, Comcast started a new sports channel—SportsNet New York—in the greater New York City region, in partnership with the New York Mets and Time Warner Cable.

Comcast also has a variety network known as Comcast Network, available exclusively to Comcast and Cablevision subscribers. The channel shows news, sports, and entertainment and places emphasis in Philadelphia and the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. areas, though the channel is also available in New York, Pittsburgh, and Richmond. In August 2004, Comcast started a channel called CET (Comcast Entertainment Television), available only to Colorado Comcast subscribers, and focusing on life in Colorado. It also carries some National Hockey League (NHL) and National Basketball Association (NBA) games when Altitude Sports & Entertainment is carrying the NHL or NBA. In January 2006, CET became the primary channel for Colorado's Emergency Alert System in the Denver Metro Area.

In 1996, Comcast launched Comcast Online, a broadband Internet service. Comcast purchased Sarasota Online, then one of the largest Internet providers in Florida and owned by entrepreneur Richard Swier and quickly expanded Internet service into over 30 cities. Comcast's Internet service has 18.582 million customers as of March 30, 2012.[16]


The UK division was sold to NTL in 1998. After the sale of their cellular division to SBC Communications of San Antonio and the acquisition of Greater Philadelphia Cablevision in 1999,[17] Comcast and MediaOne announced a $60 billion merger which did not occur until three years later (as AT&T Broadband).[18] In addition, Comcast rebranded around that time and began to employ the logo that was used for over a decade.

In 2002, Comcast paid the University of Maryland $25 million for naming rights to the new basketball arena built on the College Park campus, named Comcast Center.

On January 3, 2005, Comcast announced that it would become the anchor tenant in a new skyscraper in downtown Philadelphia, to be named the Comcast Center, not to be confused with the Maryland arena mentioned above. The 975 ft (297 m) skyscraper is the tallest building in Pennsylvania.

In December 2005, Comcast announced the creation of Comcast Interactive Media (CIM), a new division focused on online media.

As of June 30, 2013, Comcast serves a total of 21.7 million cable customers, 19.9 million high-speed Internet customers, and 10.3 million voice customers. Comcast is headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and also has corporate offices in Atlanta, Detroit, Denver, and Manchester, New Hampshire.[19]

Comcast announced in May 2007[20] and launched in September 2008 a dashboard called SmartZone.[21] Customers can use the service most likely sometime that year according to the Daily Herald near Chicago, quoting a Comcast spokesperson.[21] HP or Hewlett-Packard led "design, creation and management". Collaboration and unified messaging technology came from open-source vendor Zimbra, according to IDG News Service, who spoke with a Comcast spokesperson the previous year.[20] "SmartZone users will be able to send and receive e-mail, listen to their voicemail messages online and forward that information via e-mail to others, send instant messages and video instant messages and merge their contacts into one address book", according to IDG.[20] IDG also noted Cloudmark spam and phishing protection and Trend Micro antivirus.[20] The address book is Comcast Plaxo software.[20]

Comcast announced for the end of 2008 a new network congestion management technique, after receiving no complaints over the summer in five market trials which were held in Warrenton, Virginia; Chambersburg, Pennsylvania; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Lake View, Florida; and East Orange, Florida.[22]

On December 1, 2009, CNBC reported that a tentative agreement had been reached between Comcast and GE.[23] The deal was formally announced on December 3, 2009.[24] Under the agreement, NBCUniversal would be 51% owned by Comcast and 49% by GE. Comcast is to pay $6.5 billion cash to GE. Comcast will also contribute $7.5 billion in programming including regional sports networks and cable channels such as Golf Channel and E! Entertainment Television. GE plans to use some of the funds, $5.8 billion, to buy out Vivendi's 20% minority stake in NBCUniversal.[24] After the transaction completes, Comcast will reserve the right to buy out GE's share at certain times. GE will also reserve the right to force the sale of their stake within the first seven years. The deal was completed in January 2011, with Comcast taking over as NBC's majority owner.[24][25]

On December 3, 2009, General Electric (GE) and Comcast announced a buyout agreement for NBCUniversal.[26] Regulators approved the proposed sale on January 18, 2011. With the completion of the sale by January 28, 2011, Comcast owned 51% of NBCUniversal and GE owned 49%.[5][27] Roberts is part of NBCUniversal's board of directors. On March 19, 2013 Comcast purchased the remaining 49% of NBCUniversal.[7][28]

Comcast won the Consumerist Worst Company In America ("Golden Poo") award in 2010.[29] A gold trophy in the shape of a pile of human feces was delivered to Comcast Corporate Headquarters to commemorate the unmatched level of enmity flowing from their customer base to their business. Competitor Verizon congratulated Comcast on their award via the Verizon Twitter feed. Comcast immediately publicly acknowledged the award, claiming ongoing efforts to improve their customer service.[30]

Comcast has grown into a Fortune 100 company with 24.1 million customers and 100,000 employees. Comcast's content networks and investments originally included E!, Style Network (now Esquire Network), Golf Channel, Versus (now NBC Sports Network), PBS Kids Sprout, TV One, G4 (defunct) and the regional Comcast SportsNets, before Comcast took majority ownership in NBCUniversal, which added a significant number of cable networks to the list. The company also has a majority ownership in Comcast-Spectacor, whose major holdings include the Philadelphia Flyers NHL hockey team, the Philadelphia 76ers NBA basketball team and two large multipurpose arenas in Philadelphia.

Services

Xfinity


Xfinity is the name for the re-branded triple play services in Comcast's largest markets, which include the company's digital cable, cable Internet access, and cable telephone services.[31] Smaller markets currently will retain the Comcast branding for all services until they have been upgraded to full digital services.

A major push involving the new Xfinity brand took place during the 2010 Winter Olympics coverage on NBC, which was in the early stages of a merger with Comcast.[32] The company proposed adding more HD channels, foreign language programming, video on demand content (especially with the end of analog cable by 2012), known as "Xfinity On Demand," and more programming on its Fancast.com video portal (now known as simply "XfinityTV Online").[33] Additionally, the company is likely to push faster Internet bandwidth along with DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem service where available under the new branding.[34]

According to Comcast, the name Xfinity stands for infinite content choices and cross-platform features.[35]

The Xfinity rebranding has been controversial since its introduction, said to be nothing more than an effort to sidestep the negativity of the "Comcast" brand name.[36][37][38] In February 2010, TIME listed Xfinity at number 2 in their Top 10 Worst Corporate Name Changes list.[39]

The name changes for each of the triple play services are as follows: Comcast Digital Cable is now called "Xfinity TV", Comcast Digital Voice is now called "Xfinity Voice", and Comcast High Speed Internet is now called "Xfinity Internet".

Comcast Business Services remain under the "Comcast" name.

Internet

Comcast has 19.986 million high-speed internet customers as of June 30, 2013.[40]

Currently available Comcast High-Speed Internet Plans:

Name Download Speed Upload Speed DOCSIS Version
Economy 1.5 Mbit/s 384 kbit/s 1.1, 2.0, 3.0
Economy Plus 3.5 Mbit/s 768 kbit/s 1.1, 2.0, 3.0
Performance Starter 6 Mbit/s 1 Mbit/s 1.1, 2.0, 3.0
Performance 20-25 Mbit/s 4-5 Mbit/s 2.0, 3.0
Blast! 50 Mbit/s 10 Mbit/s 3.0
Extreme 105 105 Mbit/s 20 Mbit/s 3.0
Extreme 505 505 Mbit/s 105 Mbit/s N/A (Metro E) (Updated from E305/65)

"Excessive bandwidth" policy

Comcast introduced a controversial 250 GB-per-month data transfer cap to its broadband service on October 1, 2008.[41] This policy is also reflected in Comcast Network Management page. The cap combines both upload and download for the total limit. If a user exceeds the cap, on a first offense, a warning email and/or phone call will be issued with information on how to track bandwidth usage by suggesting software monitoring programs. On the third offense within the next six months, the customer's residential services are terminated for one year. Comcast reserves the right to suspend any customer's internet service to examine their servers and it is up to their sole discretion on whether to issue a refund or not. Comcast reserves the right to do this without any notification. The monitoring window is from the first to last day of each calendar month.[42]

Comcast has a policy of terminating broadband customers who use "excessive bandwidth", a term the company refused to define in its terms of service, which once said only that a customer's use should not "represent (in the sole judgment of Comcast) an overly large burden on the network".[43] Company responses to press inquiries suggest a limit of several hundred gigabytes per month.[44][45] In September 2007, Comcast spokesman Charlie Douglas said the company defines "excessive use" as the equivalent of 30,000 songs, 250,000 pictures or 13 million emails in a month.[46] Other company statements have said the limit varied from month to month, depending on the capacity of specific CMTS's, and that it affected only the top one-thousandth of high-speed Internet customers.

According to Comcast Customer Central, enforcement of the 250 GB data consumption threshold is currently suspended. However, in a college frat-house setting or other multi-tenant environment, Comcast Business Class may still be required for excessive overages. [citation needed]

Features

  • Comcast's "PowerBoost" delivers bursts for all but their highest-end and lowest-end tiers, allowing subscribers to use all excess cable node capacity to speed up the first few seconds of downloads.

Internet Essentials

Under its "Internet Essentials" program Comcast offers low-cost internet service to families with children who qualify for free or reduced price school lunches. Discounts on a computer and free training are also provided.[47] This service, which offers access to a previously untapped market, is required by regulations concerning internet access for the poor imposed by the FCC as condition of allowing Comcast's acquisition of NBCUniversal in January, 2011. About 100,000 households in urban areas were being served by the program as of January, 2013.[48] A similar program is available from other internet providers through the non-profit Connect2compete.org.[48][49]

Legal Issues

On September 4, 2008 Comcast sued the FCC over findings that the previous Network Management policy illegally interfered with BitTorrent traffic on the Comcast network.[50]

Xfinity Voice

Main article: Comcast Digital Voice

At the start of 2012, Comcast stood as the United States' third-largest residential telephone provider.[51] At that time the company supplied 9.34 million residential telephone lines.[51]

Xfinity Home

Comcast now offers a home security and home automation service known as Xfinity Home, in some of its service areas. This service provides residential customers a monitored burglar and fire alarm, surveillance cameras, and home automation.[52]

Business Services

Main article: Comcast Business Services

In addition to residential consumers, Comcast also serves businesses as customers, targeting both small businesses with fewer than 20 employees and also mid-sized businesses of 20-500 employees.[53] In 2009, Minneapolis – Saint Paul became the first city in which Comcast Business Class offered 100 Mbit/s Internet service, which includes Microsoft Communication Services.[54] Comcast Business Class Internet service does not have a bandwidth usage cap. In May 2011, Comcast announced its Metro Ethernet services, which are available in 20 major U.S. markets, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Harrisburg (Pa.), Hartford, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Miami, Nashville, state of New Jersey, Oakland, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, Washington D.C. and western New England. Comcast offers four types of Metro Ethernet services: Ethernet Private Line, Ethernet Virtual Private Line, Ethernet Network Service, and Ethernet Network Dedicated Access, that are available in speeds from one Megabit per second up to 10 Gigabits per second.[55][56]

Comcast Business services were initially sold exclusively through direct sales employees. On March 14, 2011, Comcast created an indirect sales channel called the Solution Provider Program, a comprehensive indirect channel program that enables telecommunications consultants and system integrators to sell Comcast’s services such as Business Class Internet, Voice, and high-capacity Ethernet services to small and mid-market businesses. The program offers recurring commissions for sales partners based on monthly revenue, and Comcast will provide, install, manage and bill for these services. For the initial launch of the Solutions Provider Program, Comcast enlisted three national master representatives—Telarus, based in Salt Lake City, Utah; Intelisys, based in Petaluma, California; and Telecom Brokerage Inc (TBI), based in Chicago. Sub-agent sales partners must work with one of these three partners in the early stages of the program.[57] The head of the Comcast Business indirect sales channel is Craig Schlagbaum, former head of the Level 3 Communications channel.[58]

Programming

Comcast not only delivers third-party programming content to its own customers, but also produces content that is delivered to both its subscribers and customers of other competing television services. This is a way to diversify Comcast's revenue to both sides of the content/delivery equation. Fully or partially owned Comcast programming includes Comcast Newsmakers, Comcast Network, Comcast SportsNet, SportsNet New York, MLB Network, Comcast Sports Southeast/Charter Sports Southeast, E! Entertainment, Esquire Network, NBC Sports Network, The Golf Channel, AZN Television, and FEARnet.

Acquisitions and joint ventures

Further information: List of assets owned by Comcast

Comcast bought 25% of Group W Cable in 1986, doubling its size.[17] Two years later, it purchased a 50% share in Storer Communications, Inc. Comcast acquired American Cellular Network Corporation the same year before combining with Metrophone in 1990. Comcast became the third largest cable operator in 1994 following its purchase of Maclean-Hunter's American division.[17] Comcast owned the majority of the electronic retailer QVC from 1995 to 2004 when its share was sold to Liberty Media. Following other acquisitions, Microsoft invested $1 billion in Comcast in 1997.[59]

In 2001, Comcast announced it would acquire the assets of the largest cable television operator at the time, AT&T Broadband (AT&T's spun-off cable TV service) for US$44.5 billion.[60] In 2002, Comcast acquired all assets of AT&T Broadband, thus making Comcast the largest cable television company in the United States with over 22 million subscribers.[60][61] This also spurred the start of Comcast Advertising Sales (using AT&T's groundwork) which would later be renamed Comcast Spotlight. As part of this acquisition, Comcast also acquired the National Digital Television Center in Centennial, Colorado as a wholly owned subsidiary, which is today known as the Comcast Media Center.


When it was first announced that AT&T Broadband and Comcast were going to merge, the chosen name for the new company was "AT&T Comcast". That decision was changed so as to not confuse current and future investors in the company, and the merged company retained the Comcast name.

On February 11, 2004, Comcast surprised the media industry by announcing an unsolicited $66 billion bid for The Walt Disney Company, a deal that would have made Comcast the largest media conglomerate in the world.[62][63] After rejection by Disney and uncertain response from investors, the bid was abandoned in April.[64] The deal would have also required Comcast to sell off either the Philadelphia Flyers (which they own through Comcast Spectacor) or the Disney-owned Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, since they wouldn't be permitted to own two NHL teams. It was later discovered that the deal was mostly for Comcast to acquire one of Disney's most profitable operations, ESPN, in an attempt to expand its sports reach. Comcast then opted to rename OLN as Versus (then as NBC Sports Network in 2012) and expand their sports coverage with the Tour de France and the NHL. Comcast's NHL deal also obligated them to launch a U.S. version of NHL Network by the summer of 2007. The network finally launched in October 2007. Disney later sold the now-Anaheim Ducks to Henry Samueli in 2005 in an unrelated transaction.

Comcast announced on March 25, 2004 that its new gaming-oriented television network G4 (operated by subsidiary G4 Media, Inc.) would acquire Vulcan Venture's technology-oriented television network TechTV. The deal was finalized on May 10, 2004 – and the two networks became G4techTV on May 28, 2004.[65] On January 11, 2005, Comcast announced that it would drop TechTV from the station's name and again be known as "G4".

On April 8, 2005, a partnership led by Comcast and Sony Pictures Entertainment finalized a deal to acquire MGM and its affiliate studio, United Artists, and create an additional outlet to carry MGM/UA's material for cable and Internet distribution.[66][67]

On October 31, 2005, Comcast officially announced that it had acquired Susquehanna Communications (SusCom,) a York, PA-based cable television and broadband services provider and unit of the former Susquehanna Pfaltzgraff company, for $775 million cash.[68][69] In this deal Comcast acquired approximately 230,000 basic cable customers, 71,000 digital cable customers, and 86,000 high-speed Internet customers. Comcast previously owned approximately 30 percent of Susquehanna Communications through affiliate company Lenfest.[68]

On April 3, 2007, Comcast announced it had entered into an agreement to acquire the cable systems owned and operated by Patriot Media, a privately held company owned by cable veteran Steven J. Simmons, Spectrum Equity Investors and Spire Capital, that serves approximately 81,000 video subscribers. Comcast will acquire Patriot for a net cash investment of approximately $483 million.[70] By acquiring the niche provider the deal will plug a hole in its central New Jersey service.[71]

Adelphia purchase

In April 2005, Comcast and Time Warner Cable announced plans to buy Adelphia Cable. $17.6 billion was to be paid (partly in stock) in the deal that was finalized in the second quarter of 2006—after the FCC completed a seven-month investigation without raising an objection.[72] Time Warner Cable would become the second largest cable provider in the U.S., ranking behind Comcast. As part of the same deal, Time Warner and Comcast would also trade existing subscribers to create larger clusters of customers for each company in various geographical areas.

The changes became effective on August 1, 2006. As an example, Comcast's systems in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex were traded to TWC in exchange for Time Warner's North Louisiana market, which covers Shreveport and Monroe. Also, Comcast in Los Angeles Area was traded with TWC. Parts of the Orange County area (Fullerton, Buena Park, etc.) that were Adelphia were originally Comcast subscribers until the early 2000s.

Also in August 2006, Comcast and Time Warner dissolved a partnership that controlled the systems in the Houston, Southwest Texas, San Antonio, and Kansas City markets. After the dissolution, Comcast obtained the Houston system, and Time Warner retained the others.[73] On January 1, 2007, Comcast officially took control of the Houston system, but continued to operate under the Time Warner Cable brand in the interim. As of June 19, 2007, the Time Warner name was officially retired and replaced by Comcast.

Comcast also took over Adelphia systems in the State College, Pennsylvania area in addition to the Lewistown, Pennsylvania area. The company also took over Adelphia's systems in the Pittsburgh market, combining those systems with Comcast's already-large market share in the region (Comcast entered Pittsburgh through the AT&T Broadband deal).

In early 2007, Comcast took over Adelphia operations in Palm Beach, Broward, Hillsborough, and Miami-Dade Counties in Florida and Bartow, Pickens, Cherokee, and Forsyth Counties in Georgia, as well as customers in Colorado.[74]

thePlatform purchase

In July 2006, Comcast purchased the Seattle-based software company thePlatform. This represented an entry into a new line of business – selling software to allow companies to manage their Internet (and IP-based) media publishing efforts. Customers of thePlatform include Verizon Wireless, BBC Worldwide, PBS, CNBC, CBS College Sports, and HiT Entertainment .[75] thePlatform also provides media access for Hulu and XfinityTV.com (formerly Fancast.com).

Plaxo purchase

In May 2008 Comcast purchased Plaxo for a reported $150 million to $170 million.[76]

ESPNU and ESPN3.com

On May 19, 2009, Disney and ESPN Media Networks and Comcast Corporation announced an agreement to add ESPNU to its Digital Classic level of service.[77] Comcast added ESPNU to a majority of its cable systems in time for the start of the 2009 college football season. This includes Comcast's southern systems which enjoys coverage of ESPNU's new Saturday game-of-the-week Southeastern Conference (SEC) package. With this agreement, ESPNU has more than 46 million subscribers.

In the same agreement, it was announced that ESPN360.com (now ESPN3.com)—the sports company's U.S. live sports broadband network—would be made available to all Comcast high speed Internet subscribers. ESPN3.com provides live streaming of more than 3,500 sports events from around the world annually. Programming includes major soccer leagues, US college football, basketball, baseball and softball, NBA, MLB, coverage of major golf and tennis tournaments (such as tennis "grand slam" events, the US Open and Wimbledon). With the agreement ESPN360.com became available to nearly 41 million homes, a majority of broadband homes in America.[77]

TechTV acquisition

On March 25, 2004, Comcast's G4 gaming channel announced a merger with TechTV. This move became hugely controversial among loyal fans of TechTV and its well known personality Leo Laporte. Around May 6, G4 announced the termination of 250 employees from the San Francisco office by July 10, 2004, allowing approximately 80 to 100 employees to transition to G4's main office in Los Angeles, California if they agreed to relocate there.

On May 10, 2004, G4 Media completed the acquisition of TechTV from Vulcan.[65] G4techTV was launched in the U.S. and Canada on May 28, 2004. This led to the cancellation of many of the TechTV channels throughout carriers across the world. On January 3, 2005, TechTV International began airing select programs from G4techTV.

On February 15, 2005, the TechTV brand was dropped from the United States G4techTV feed, leaving the network name as G4 – Video Game Television; since then, G4 has gone through a rebranding into a male oriented network. With the departure of ZDTV-era employee Adam Sessler in April 2012, Morgan Webb is currently the sole TechTV-era employee remaining with the network. Comcast also acquired 33.33% of G4 Canada in addition to its US channel in the sale of TechTV.

U.S. Olympic Network

The U.S. Olympic Committee and Comcast intended to team up to create The U.S. Olympic Network, which was slated to launch after the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.[78] These plans were then put on hold by the U.S. Olympic Committee.[79] The U.S. Olympic Committee and Comcast have ended the plans to create The U.S. Olympic Network.[80]

NBCUniversal

Main article: Comcast NBC merger


Media outlets began reporting in late September 2009 that Comcast was in talks to buy NBCUniversal. Comcast denied the rumors at first, while NBC would not comment on them.[81] However, CNBC itself reported on October 1 that General Electric was considering spinning NBCUniversal off into a separate company that would merge the NBC television network and its cable properties such as USA Network, Syfy and MSNBC with Comcast's content assets. GE would maintain 49% control of the new company, while Comcast owned 51%.[82][83] Vivendi, which owns 20%, would have to sell its stake to GE. It's been reported under the current deal with GE that it would happen in November or December.[84][85] It was also reported that Time Warner would be interested in placing a bid, until Jeffrey L. Bewkes (the CEO) came out and said "No",[86] leaving it highly unlikely that Comcast would have any other bids to worry about.

On November 1, 2009, The New York Times reported Comcast had moved closer to a deal to purchase NBCUniversal and that a formal announcement could be made sometime the following week.[87] On December 3, 2009, the parties announced that Comcast will take a controlling 51% stake in NBCUniversal.[88]

On January 18, 2011, the FCC approved the deal by a vote of 4 to 1.[89] The sale was completed on January 28, 2011.[90][91][92]

In late December 2012, Comcast added the NBC peacock symbol to their new logo.[93]

On February 12, 2013, Comcast announced an intention to acquire the remaining 49% of General Electric's interest in NBCUniversal.[94][95] Comcast completed the purchase on March 19, 2013.[7][8]

Financial performance

The book value of the company nearly doubled from $8.19 a share in 1999 to $15 a share in 2009. Revenues grew sixfold from 1999's $6 billion to almost $36 billion in 2009. Net profit margin rose from 4.2% in 1999 to 8.4% in 2009, with operating margins improving 31 percent and return on equity doubling to 6.7 percent in the same time span. Between 1999 and 2009, return on capital nearly tripled to 7 percent.[96]

Comcast reported first quarter 2012 profit increases of 30% due to increase in high-speed internet customers.[97] In addition to a 7% rate increase on cable services in 2012, Comcast anticipates a double digit rate increase in 2013.[98]

Employee relations

Comcast had been rated highly in "top places to work" lists. In 2009, it was listed in CableFAX magazine's "Top 10 Places to Work in Cable", which cited its "scale, savvy and vision".[99] Similarly, the Philadelphia Business Journal awarded Comcast the silver medal among extra-large companies in Philadelphia, with the gold medal going to partner organization, Comcast-Spectacor.[100][101] The Boston Globe found Comcast to be that city's top place to work in 2009.[102]

Employee diversity is also an attribute upon which Comcast receives strong marks. In 2008, Black Enterprise magazine rated Comcast among the top 15 companies for workforce diversity.[103]

Despite high ratings in these fields, Comcast has earned a reputation for being "anti-union". According to one of the company's training manuals, "Comcast does not feel union representation is in the best interest of its employees, customers, or shareholders." A dispute in 2004 with CWA, a labor union that represented many employees at Comcast's offices in Beaverton, Oregon, led to allegations of management intimidating workers, requiring them to attend anti-union meetings and unwarranted disciplinary action for union members.[104] In 2011, Comcast received criticism from Writers Guild of America for its policies in regards to unions.[105]

Criticism and controversy

Main article: Criticism of Comcast

References

External links

  • Comcast SEC Filings
  • Portrait of ComcastNBCU at mediadb.eu
  • Biography of Daniel Aaron
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