Tag Archive: Comcast

Streaming TV Services Bringing Web Congestion

HBO, Showtime, and Sony Corp. are jumping into online television. But instead of putting their Web traffic on the public Internet’s main thoroughfare, they want to be in a separate lane that would ensure their content gets special treatment.

Those companies have talked to major broadband providers such as Comcast Corp. about having their Web TV services treated as “managed” services, according to people familiar with the discussions. In effect, that would move them away from the congestion of the Internet, which they fear will only get worse as more people opt to stream movies and TV shows on the Web.
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Tremendous growth for Comcasts’s TV Everywhere

Comcast saw tremendous growth and adoption of TV Everywhere in 2014 and that momentum continues into 2015. More than thirty percent of Xfinity TV customers using TV Everywhere monthly to tune into their favorite networks on-the-go, averaging about 20 percent growth year over year. Moreover, the average viewer consumed more than 7 hours per month on Xfinity TV Go, up nearly 40 percent from the same time last year. Available for Android and Apple devices, the Xfinity TV Go app has been downloaded more than 11 million times.
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U.S. FCC pauses Comcast-Time Warner merger review until January 12

U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Monday once again paused its review of the proposed $45 billion merger of Comcast Corp and Time Warner Cable Inc, citing delays in getting documents from Time Warner Cable.

The FCC is studying whether the merger, which would combine the two biggest U.S. cable companies, is in the public interest. It had self-imposed an informal 180-day countdown for the review, which will now be paused at day 104 until January 12.

The FCC said it learned this month that Time Warner Cable had improperly withheld more than 7,000 documents the regulators had requested, based on an “inappropriate claim of attorney-client privilege.” The agency learned later that more than 31,000 requested documents were missing due to a vendor error.

Time Warner Cable submitted the privileged documents in early December but expected to deliver a revised “privilege log” in mid-January. The FCC had asked the companies to respond to its data request by September 11.

After the agency reviewers expressed concern about the delays, Time Warner Cable promised to produce the missing documents on Monday, but the FCC said it needed extra time to study new submissions.

“The magnitude of the errors … is material and the delays in rectifying them were substantial so that the tardy productions have interfered with the commission’s ability to conduct a prompt and thorough review of the pending applications,” FCC Media Bureau Chief William Lake wrote to the companies’ Washington officials on Monday.

The FCC had paused the review from Oct. 3 to Dec. 3, first for the companies to respond to a massive data request and then to deal with a dispute over confidentiality of documents related to agreements with media companies.

Pauses are common in large merger reviews.

“Today’s delay is a procedural issue, not a substantive one,” Time Warner Cable spokesman Bobby Amirshahi said in a statement. “We already have provided the FCC more than five million pages of documents and we will continue to provide the FCC everything that they need to review this transaction.”

Comcast spokeswoman Sena Fitzmaurice said the companies remained on track for the review to be concluded early in 2015.

“We are confident that any outstanding documents will be produced to the FCC in an expedited manner,” she said.

To read the FCC’s letter, see fcc.us/1t2ViDv

Source: reuters

Comcast to test its YouTube competitor by the end of the year

Comcast is looking to test a new platform for the distribution of online videos through its new X1 cable set-top boxes by the end of the year, the company’s SVP of Video Matt Strauss confirmed during an interview at the sidelines of the TV of Tomorrow Show this week.

Strauss said that the service will be evaluated through what he called “limited tests.” He said that it will have some similarities to YouTube, allowing content creators to directly upload their videos to a server. These videos will then become available via a dedicated app running on Comcast’s X1 box, which the company has been gradually rolling out across its markets. The Information first published a report about Comcast’s plans to experiment with online video in March, citing anonymous sources.

Strauss declined to comment on the types of content that will be part of those first tests, but said that the focus won’t be on user-generated content, which YouTube obviously started out with. However, YouTube has put a much bigger focus on professionally-produced and serialized content in recent years, and that seems where Comcast is aiming at with this initiative as well. Strauss said that Comcast will be able to offer content producers a number of monetization options, which could include advertising as well as transactional fees, but said that the company is still evaluating its options.

Comcast acquired the online video advertising specialist Freewheel for $360 million earlier this year, and online videos delivered through its set-top boxes could be an interesting way for Comcast to not only generate additional revenue, but also experiment with forms of advanced, targeted advertising that could one day personalize ads on traditional TV as well.

However, Strauss said that adding online video to its set-top boxes isn’t just about making more money, but also about reducing churn. The goal was to target smaller audiences that see high value in certain types of niche content, he said, which have been underserved by the traditional cable line-up.

The cable industry has been held back by the physical limitations of its QAM transmission technology, which only allows cable operators to carry a limited number of channels. With internet video, Comcast would be able to carry a virtually unlimited number of channels, and Strauss mentioned foreign-language TV channels, which could appeal to expats but aren’t widely available on traditional cable line-ups, as one of the areas his company is very interested in.

Comcast already has the rights to distribute many of these imported TV channels in the U.S., Strauss explained, and could make them more widely available on a streaming basis through its X1 set-top box as well as accompanying mobile apps in 2015 or 2016.

Source: http://gigaom.com/2014/06/11/comcast-to-test-its-youtube-competitor-by-the-end-of-the-year/