July 2, 2020

Cablevision Picks Up Glenn Beck’s Internet Channel

The announcement on Wednesday night came two months after TheBlaze began a campaign to get onto cable and satellite systems across the country. Cablevision, which has about three million subscribers in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, is the largest system to sign the channel up since then. It is unclear if Cablevision was influenced by the campaign.

Cablevision said TheBlaze would be available to subscribers of its cable service, called Optimum TV, starting in late May. In a statement, Cablevision’s vice president of video product management, Bradley Feldman, said, “Optimum TV is the only cable provider in the tri-state area to bring our customers original programming from Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze, and the independent network will add more diversity to our strong lineup, providing our customers with more choices that our customers appreciate.”

Having access to cable lineups in New York is a goal of many aspiring channels. Along with Cablevision, Time Warner Cable and Verizon FiOS also provide television service in the metropolitan area.

Mr. Beck started his Internet channel, originally named GBTV, after his 5 p.m. talk show ended on Fox News. TheBlaze now has more than 40 hours of programming a week, including simulcasts of Mr. Beck’s radio show, a nightly show of his just for the channel and a nightly panel conversation about the news.

In September 2012 Mr. Beck began to return to television through a carriage deal with Dish Network. Dish had a period of exclusive TV distribution of TheBlaze, but that period has evidently ended, since TheBlaze has cut deals with a number of small cable operators, including Blue Ridge Communications, which has about 170,000 subscribers in Pennsylvania.

Mr. Beck’s cable push has gained attention from other Internet channel proprietors because they hope his strategy will serve as a blueprint. Earlier this week the Internet channel Huffington Post Live announced a six-hour-a-day carriage arrangement with the cable channel AXS.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/02/business/media/cablevision-picks-up-glenn-becks-internet-channel.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Media Decoder Blog: Comcast Buying G.E.’s Stake in NBCUniversal for $16.7 Billion

6:03 p.m. | Updated Comcast said Tuesday that it has agreed to acquire General Electric’s remaining 49 percent stake in NBCUniversal for approximately $16.7 billion, completing a sale process that was expected to take several more years.

The acquisition will wrap up by the end of March, Comcast said in a news release. The move reflects Comcast’s optimism about NBCUniversal going forward, from its highly profitable cable channels to its theme parks and Web sites and the flagship NBC broadcast network.

Comcast also said that NBCUniversal would buy the NBC studios and offices at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, as well as the CNBC headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J. Those transactions will cost about $1.4 billion. With the office space comes naming rights for the General Electric building, according to a GE spokeswoman. So it is possible that the giant red “GE” sign atop 30 Rockefeller Center could be replaced by a Comcast sign.

“This is an exciting day for Comcast as we have agreed to accelerate the purchase of NBCUniversal,” Comcast’s chief executive, Brian Roberts, said in a statement. “The management team at GE has been a wonderful partner during the past two years and their support has been very valuable. Our decision to acquire GE’s ownership is driven by our sense of optimism for the future prospects of NBCUniversal and our desire to capture future value that we hope to create for our shareholders.”

Comcast took control of NBCUniversal in early 2011 by acquiring 51 percent of the media company from General Electric.

At the time, Comcast committed to paying about $6.5 billion in cash and contributed all of its cable channels, including E! and some regional sports networks, to the newly established NBCUniversal joint venture. Those channels were valued at $7.25 billion.

The transaction made Comcast, the single biggest cable provider in the United States, one of the biggest owners of cable channels, too. NBCUniversal operates the NBC broadcast network, 10 local NBC stations, USA, Bravo, Syfy, E!, MSNBC, CNBC, the NBC Sports Network, Telemundo, Universal Pictures, Universal Studios, and a long list of other media brands.

The sale ends a long relationship between General Electric and NBC that goes back to before the founding days of television. In 1926, the Radio Corporation of America created the NBC network. General Electric owned R.C.A. until 1930. It regained control of R.C.A., including NBC, in 1986, in a deal worth $6.4 billion at the time.

Comcast had another five years to buy out General Electric’s interest in NBCUniversal, according to the terms of the original deal.

“We didn’t have to do it; GE didn’t have to sell now,” Mr. Roberts noted in an interview on CNBC on Tuesday. “But we came to an understanding that I think works out well for everybody. They get a lot of cash … and our shareholders have 100 percent of the upside here.”

Asked about a possible logo swap on the building, Mr. Roberts said, that’s “not something we’re focused on talking about today.”

Article source: http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/12/comcast-buying-g-e-s-stake-in-nbcuniversal-for-16-7-billion/?partner=rss&emc=rss

Comcast Internet Essentials Brings Access to Low-Income Homes

“Is the Internet on your back to school list?” read one leaflet being handed out along with information about the Women, Infants and Children program, a Health Department initiative that offers nutritional and breast-feeding support to low-income families.

Internet Essentials is not a government program, although that would be difficult to tell from the poster. Instead, it is a two-year-old program run by Comcast, the country’s largest Internet and cable provider, meant to bring affordable broadband to low-income homes.

Any family that qualifies for the National School Lunch Program is eligible for Internet service at home for $9.95 a month. The families also receive a voucher from Comcast to buy a computer for as little as $150.

The program is not charity: Comcast started Internet Essentials in order to satisfy a regulatory requirement to provide Internet access to the poor, which also happens to be one of the few remaining areas for growth for cable companies across the country. More than 100,000 households in Atlanta, Philadelphia, Boston, Seattle, San Francisco and other major markets have signed up for Internet Essentials.

But as the program gains popularity, the company has come under criticism, accused of overreaching in its interactions with local communities — handing out brochures with the company logo during parent-teacher nights at public schools, for instance, or enlisting teachers and pastors to spread the word to students and congregations.

“A company like Comcast doesn’t do it out of the goodness of their heart,” said Joe Karaganis, vice president of the American Assembly, a nonprofit public affairs forum affiliated with Columbia University.

The Obama administration has been pushing private-public partnerships as a way to make high-speed home Internet access available to the 100 million Americans who lack it.

The digital divide has traditionally been regarded as one between urban and rural areas of the United States. But only about 7 percent of households without broadband are in rural areas without the necessary infrastructure; the bulk of the rest are low-income families who cannot afford the monthly bill, or do not feel it is a necessity, according to government statistics.

“The broadband divide is a real threat to the American dream,” Julius Genachowski, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, said in an interview. “The costs of digital exclusion are getting higher and higher.”

Comcast set up shop in Chicago in May 2011, a few months after its $13.75 billion takeover of NBC Universal. As part of its approval for the deal, the F.C.C. required the company to devise a plan to make broadband available to the poor. Comcast reluctantly agreed, according to a person involved in the merger who could not speak publicly about private conversations. A Comcast spokesman said the company had volunteered the plan. Broadband subscriptions represent the main driver of Comcast’s $55.8 billion in annual revenue. The company and its competitors have largely reached saturation among households that can afford high-speed Internet. That leaves the poor as one of the industry’s main areas of growth.

“In the long, long run, yes, I hope we’re creating future Comcast customers,” said David L. Cohen, executive vice president of the Comcast Corporation. He added: “There’s no bait and switch here. This is a community investment.”

Before he became Comcast’s chief lobbyist and the overseer of Internet Essentials, Mr. Cohen was a prominent Democratic political consultant and aide to Edward G. Rendell, a former Pennsylvania governor.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/21/business/media/comcast-internet-essentials-brings-access-to-low-income-homes.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Cable TV Dispute Leads Some N.Y. Fans to Buy Tickets

There were portable radios to retrieve, Internet piracy laws to test, acquaintances to beg for a dinner invitation — provided they subscribed to another cable provider. And then there were those who begrudgingly shelled out money for a seat.

“It’s such a short season,” said Kyle Thomas, 42, a Time Warner Cable subscriber from the Upper East Side, explaining his decision to attend Saturday’s game between the Knicks and the Denver Nuggets. “Don’t force me to watch daytime television, recorded.”

Since New Year’s Day, the MSG channels, which carry games for the Knicks, the Rangers, the Devils and the Islanders, have been unavailable to the 1.7 million Time Warner Cable customers in the metropolitan region and parts of upstate New York. Fans in Buffalo have also seen their beloved Sabres blacked out.

The Giants will play the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl on Feb. 5, but generally the winter can be a lean time for a New York sports fan.

The Rangers last won the Stanley Cup in the 20th century, and the Knicks’ last championship came during the Nixon administration. The Yankees and the Mets are still weeks away from spring training, and any hopes for the Jets will have a long wait until next season.

There are college basketball games, sure, but little sign of citywide unity behind a single team. St. John’s University has struggled this year. And the Violets of New York University, ranked 23rd in Division III, have failed to capture the hearts and minds of ESPN scheduling executives.

The blackout has even left some fans to consider the ultimate indignity: turning to the lowly Nets, cable’s only local game in town on some evenings.

“They’re pushing me in that direction,” said Clarence Patterson, 43, a Knicks fan from Brooklyn who has taken to carrying a small radio in recent weeks. Mr. Patterson lives a short walk from the Brooklyn arena that the Nets are scheduled to open next season, he said. Yet the chief obstacle to a defection, he added, was the team itself.

Perhaps the only New Yorkers to benefit from the blackout are the scalpers of Seventh Avenue, scanning the area for targets before each Knicks home game at the Garden.

“It’s a strong market,” one of them said, smiling beneath his wool hat before Saturday night’s game. “People who want to see the game have to come outside.”

Scalpers say that only one force could derail their momentum: the disastrous start to the Knicks’ season. With the double-overtime defeat Saturday, in which Carmelo Anthony, the former Nuggets star, took to the court against his former teammates, the Knicks had lost six straight games, falling to 6-10.

Shawn DeGrechie, 40, from Rockaway Park in Queens, who attended the game with Mr. Thomas, said the blackout of the Rangers, who hold first place in their division, was particularly painful. “People have very few things to look forward to in life,” he said.

He paused at the Garden entryway, staring at the ground. “There’s family,” he said, shrugging.

The dispute has focused on what Time Warner Cable will pay MSG to carry its regional sports channels in a new contract. While some higher-profile games are available to Time Warner Cable customers if they are broadcast on national television, the feuding parties have accelerated their public relations efforts in recent weeks.

The cable company’s employees have worn Knicks jerseys at Time Warner Cable retail centers in the city. The company has also organized a sweepstakes to send 10 fans, and one guest each, to the Knicks’ road game on Tuesday at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C.

MSG has hosted a series of viewing parties at bars across the city — most of which have DirecTV — offering free soda and appetizers, raffles for signed memorabilia, and appearances from former Knicks and Rangers players and team dancers.

But for many fans, driven from their couches, paying for a ticket has proved more palatable.

Jared Kleinstein, 24, a Denver native who now lives in New York, said he attended the game on Saturday in part because the blackout had interfered with his schadenfreude. “We don’t have the opportunity to say ‘I told you so’ to the TV every time Carmelo throws up a brick,” he said.

For his sister, Shane, the blackout has created romantic complications. Her boyfriend recently suggested that they exchange apartment keys. She asked him why. So he could watch the Knicks play, he told her.

“It was only for the cable,” she said, sighing. “But sports brings people together.”

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=a223b415c8e128e57303337bb5e75502