Profile: Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O)
17 May 2013
Comcast Corporation (Comcast), incorporated on December 12, 2001, is a provider of entertainment, information and communications products and services. The Company has developed, managed and operated cable systems. The Company operates in five segments: Cable Communications, Cable Networks, Broadcast Television, Filmed Entertainment and Theme Parks. Cable Communications provides video, high-speed Internet and voice services (cable services) to residential and business customers in 39 states and the District of Columbia. Cable Networks consists primarily of its national cable television networks, its regional sports and news networks, its international cable networks, its cable television production studio, and its related digital media properties. Broadcast Television consists primarily of its NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, its NBC and Telemundo owned local television stations, its broadcast television production operations, and its related digital media properties. Filmed Entertainment consists of the operations of Universal Pictures, which produces, acquires, markets and distributes filmed entertainment and stage plays worldwide. Theme Parks consists primarily of its Universal theme parks in Orlando and Hollywood. Its other business interests are included in Corporate and Other and primarily include Comcast Spectacor, which owns the Philadelphia Flyers and the Wells Fargo Center, a multipurpose arena in Philadelphia. Comcast Spectacor also owns Global Spectrum, which provides facilities management, and Ovations Food Services, which provides food services, for sporting events, concerts and other events. In July 2012, Comcast acquired Microsoft Corporation's 50% stake in MSNBC.com. Effective March 19, 2013, it acquired a 49% interest in NBCUniversal Media LLC.
On January 28, 2011, the Company closed its transaction with General Electric Company (GE) to form a new company named NBCUniversal, LLC (NBCUniversal Holdings). The Company controls and owns 51% of NBCUniversal Holdings, and GE owns the remaining 49%.As part of the NBCUniversal transaction, GE contributed the businesses of NBCUniversal, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of NBCUniversal Holdings. The NBCUniversal businesses that were contributed included its national cable networks, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks and its NBC and Telemundo owned local television stations, Universal Pictures, the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park, and other related assets. The Company contributed its national cable networks, its regional sports and news networks, certain of its Internet businesses, including DailyCandy and Fandango, and other related assets (the Comcast Content Business), all of which are part of its Cable Networks segment.
The Company offers a variety of cable services over its cable distribution system to residential and business customers. Subscription rates and related charges vary according to the services and features the customer receives and the type of equipment they use, and customers typically pay the Company on a monthly basis. Residential customers may generally discontinue service at any time, while business customers may only discontinue service in accordance with the terms of their contracts, which typically have 1 to 3 year terms. As of December 31, 2011, its cable systems served 22.3 million video customers, 18.1 million high-speed Internet customers and 9.3 million voice customers and passed more than 52 million homes and businesses in 39 states and the District of Columbia.
The Company offers a variety of video services with access to hundreds of channels depending on the level of service selected. Its levels of service typically range from a limited basic service with access to between 20 and 40 channels of video programming to a digital service with access to over 300 channels. Its video services generally include programming provided by national and local broadcast networks and by national and regional cable networks, as well as governmental and public access programming. Its digital video services generally include access to over 40 music channels, its On Demand service and an interactive, on-screen program guide. The Company also offers packages that include extensive amounts of foreign-language programming, and it offers other specialty tiers of programming with sports, family and international themes. Its video customers may also subscribe to premium network programming. Premium networks include cable networks, such as HBO, Showtime, Starz and Cinemax, which generally offer, without commercial interruption, movies, original programming, live and taped sporting events, concerts and other special features.
The Company’s On Demand service provides its digital video customers with more than 30,000 standard-definition and high-definition programming choices. A substantial portion of its On Demand content is available to its digital video customers at no additional charge. Digital video customers subscribing to a premium network have access to the premium network’s On Demand content without additional fees. Its On Demand service includes fee-based selections that allow its video customers to order individual new release and library movies and special-event programs, such as professional boxing, mixed martial arts, wrestling and concerts.
The Company’s high-definition television (HDTV) service includes a selection of high-definition programming choices, including broadcast networks, national cable networks, premium networks and regional sports networks. In addition, its On Demand service provides HDTV video customers with a selection of up to 6,000 high-definition programming choices in select markets over the course of a month. Its digital video recorder (DVR) service allow digital video customers to select, record and store programs on their set-top box and play them at whatever time is convenient. Its DVR service also provides the ability to pause and rewind live television. The Company also offers select programming in three dimensional (3D) format on the channels it distributes and On Demand to its HDTV customers who have 3D capable television (TV) sets. In 2012, it began streaming certain live television programming online and through its mobile applications in some of its markets.
The Company offers a variety of high-speed Internet services with downstream speeds of up to 105 Mbps. These services also include its Internet portal, XFINITY.com, which provides access to email, voice mail, an address book, online storage, and online security features. Its customers also have the ability to access these services, including managing their e-mail accounts, through its mobile applications using smartphones and tablets. It offers voice service plans, using an interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology, that provide either usage-based or unlimited local and domestic long-distance calling, include the option for a variety of international calling plans, voice mail, caller identification (ID), call waiting and other features, including the ability to access and manage voice mail and other account information online and through its mobile applications using smartphones and tablets.
The Company offers its cable services to small and medium-sized businesses (business services). In addition to the features provided to its residential customers, its services for business customers also include a Website hosting service, an interactive tool that allows customers to share, coordinate and store documents online, a business directory listing and the option to add up to 24 phone lines. Medium-sized business customers are also offered its Metro-Ethernet data service capable of connecting multiple locations at speeds of up to 10 gigabit per second. It also provides cell backhaul services to cellular network operators. To offer its video services, it licenses a substantial portion of its programming from cable and broadcast networks.
The Company’s Cable Networks segment operates a diversified portfolio of 15 national cable networks, 13 regional sports and news networks, more than 60 international channels, and digital media properties consisting primarily of brand-aligned and other websites, including DailyCandy, Fandango and iVillage. Its 13 regional sports and news networks are Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia, Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic (Baltimore/Washington), Cable Sports Southeast, Comcast SportsNet Chicago, MountainWest Sports Network, Comcast SportsNet California (Sacramento), Comcast SportsNet New England (Boston), Comcast SportsNet Northwest (Portland), Comcast Sports Southwest (Houston), Comcast SportsNet Bay Area (San Francisco), New England Cable News (Boston), Comcast Network Philadelphia and Comcast Network Mid-Atlantic (Baltimore/Washington). The Company markets and distributes its cable network programming in the United States and internationally to multichannel video providers, as well as to Internet and wireless distributors.
The Company’s cable networks develop their own programs or acquire programming rights from third parties. Its Cable Networks segment includes its production studio, Universal Cable Production that identifies, develops and produces original content for cable television and other distribution platforms both for its cable networks and for those of third parties. It licenses the content to all forms of television, including broadcast and cable networks, and through home video and various digital media platforms, both in the United States and internationally. Its Cable Networks segment primarily generates revenue from the distribution of its cable network programming and from the sale of advertising. Distribution revenue is generated from distribution agreements with multichannel video providers. Advertising revenue is generated from the sale of advertising time on its cable networks and related digital media properties. It also generates content licensing and other revenue from the licensing and sale of its owned programming in the United States and internationally, including revenue from the sale of its owned programming on standard-definition digital video discs and Blu-ray discs (together, DVDs) and through digital media platforms, and from the licensing of its brands for consumer products.
The Company’s Broadcast Television segment operates the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, which together serve audiences and advertisers in all 50 states, including the United States metropolitan areas. Its Broadcast Television segment also includes its owned and operated NBC and Telemundo local television stations, its broadcast television production operations and its related digital media properties. Its Broadcast Television segment primarily generates revenue from the sale of advertising and from content licensing. Advertising revenue is generated from the sale of advertising time on its broadcast networks, owned local television stations and related digital media properties. Content licensing revenue is generated from the licensing of its owned programming in the United States and internationally. The Company also generates revenue from the sale of its owned programming on DVDs, through digital media platforms and from the licensing of its brands and characters for consumer products. In addition, its owned local television stations are beginning to receive retransmission fees from multichannel video providers in exchange for consent that allows carriage of the stations’ signal. It also receives a portion of the retransmission fees received by its NBC affiliated stations.
The NBC network distributes more than 5,000 hours of entertainment, news and sports programming annually, and its programs reach viewers in virtually all United States television households through more than 200 affiliated stations across the United States, including its10 NBC owned local television stations. The NBC network develops a range of content through its entertainment, news and sports divisions and also airs a variety of special-events programming. The NBC network’s television library consists of rights of varying nature to more than 100,000 episodes of television content, including current and classic titles, unscripted programming, sports, news, long-form and short-form programming and locally produced programming from around the world. In addition, the NBC network operates various Websites that extend its brands and content online. The NBC network produces its own programs or acquires the rights to programming from third parties. NBCUniversal has various contractual commitments for the licensing of rights to multiyear programming, including sports programming.
The Company’s broadcast television production operations create and produce original content, including scripted and unscripted series, talk shows, and digital media projects that are sold to broadcast networks, cable networks, local television stations and other media platforms owned by the Company and third parties, as well as through home video, both in the United States and internationally. It also produces first-run syndicated shows, which are programs for initial exhibition on local television stations in the United States, on a market-by-market basis, without prior exhibition on a network. It distributes some of its programs after their exhibition on a broadcast network, as well as older television programs from its library, to local television stations and cable networks in the off-network syndication market in the United States.
The Company owns and operates 10 NBC affiliated local television stations that collectively reached approximately 31 million United States television households, which represents approximately 27% of all United States television households, as of December 31, 2011. In addition to airing NBC’s national programming, its stations produce news, sports, public affairs and other programming that addresses local needs and acquire syndicated programming from other sources. Telemundo is a Hispanic media company that produces, acquires and distributes Spanish-language content in the United States and internationally. Telemundo’s operations include the Telemundo network; its owned local television stations; mun2, a cable network featuring diverse, youth-oriented entertainment for bicultural Latinos, and Telemundo-related digital media properties consisting primarily of brand-aligned websites, such as Telemundo.com.
The Telemundo network is a Spanish-language broadcast network featuring original telenovelas, theatrical films, news, specials and sporting events. The Company develops its own programming primarily through Telemundo’s production studio and also acquire the rights to content from third parties. During the year ended December 31, 2011, it entered into an agreement with Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) to license the Spanish-language United States broadcast rights to FIFA World Cup soccer from 2015 through 2022 and also acquired the Spanish-language United States broadcast rights for the National Football League (NFL) games that the NBC network will broadcast as part of its agreement with the NFL that runs through the 2022-23 season. As of December 31, 2011, Telemundo owned 15 local television stations, including 14 local television stations affiliated with the Telemundo network and an independent television station in Puerto Rico.
The Company’s Filmed Entertainment segment consists of the operations of Universal Pictures, which produces, acquires, markets and distributes filmed entertainment worldwide in various media formats for theatrical, home entertainment, television and increasingly through other distribution platforms. It also develops, produces and licenses stage plays. Its content consists of theatrical films, direct-to-video titles and its film library, which is comprised of approximately 4,500 titles in a variety of genres. It produces films both on its own and jointly with other studios or production companies, as well as with other entities. Its films are produced under both the Universal Pictures and Focus Features names. Its films are marketed and distributed worldwide primarily through its own marketing and distribution companies. The Company also acquires distribution rights to films produced by others, which may be limited to particular geographic regions, specific forms of media or certain periods of time. After their theatrical release, it distributes its films globally for home entertainment use on digital versatile disc (DVD) and in various digital formats, which includes the licensing of its films to third parties for electronic sell-through over the Internet. The Company also licenses its films, including selections from its film library, to all forms of television, including broadcast, cable and premium networks, and pay-per-view and video on demand services.
The Company’s Filmed Entertainment segment primarily generates revenue from the worldwide theatrical release of its owned and acquired films, content licensing and home entertainment. Content licensing revenue is generated from the licensing of its owned and acquired films to broadcast, cable and premium networks, as well as other distribution platforms. Home entertainment revenue is generated from the licensing and sale of its owned and acquired films through DVD sales to retail stores, rental kiosks and subscription by mail, as well as through digital media platforms, including electronic sell through. It also generates revenue from distributing third parties’ filmed entertainment, producing stage plays, publishing music and licensing consumer products.
The Company’s Theme Parks segment consists primarily of its Universal theme parks in Orlando and Hollywood. Universal Orlando includes two theme parks, Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure, as well as CityWalk, a dining, retail and entertainment complex. Universal Orlando also features three on-site themed hotels, in which it owns a non-controlling interest. Its Universal theme park in Hollywood consists primarily of Universal Studios Hollywood. In addition, it licenses the right to use the Universal Studios brand name, certain characters and other intellectual property to third parties that own and operate the Universal Studios Japan theme park in Osaka, Japan and the Universal Studios Singapore theme park on Sentosa Island, Singapore. It also owns a water park, Wet ‘n Wild, located in Orlando.
The Company’s Theme Parks segment licenses the right to use a substantial amount of intellectual property from third parties for its themed elements in rides, attractions, retail outlets and merchandising. ItsTheme Parks segment generates revenue primarily from theme park attendance and per capita spending, as well as from management, licensing and other fees. Per capita spending includes ticket price and in-park spending on food, beverage and merchandise.
The Company competes with DIRECTV, DISH Network, AT&T, CenturyLink and Verizon.
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