Cinedigm’s Dove Channel Launches on Comcast Cable

Cinedigm Nov. 26 announced that its subscription video-on-demand service, Dove Channel, is now available similar to Netflix and YouTube via direct access on Comcast’s broadband-based Xfinity X1.

X1 subscribers can access Dove Channel’s library of family friendly movies, children’s programs, documentaries, and TV series, including new and noteworthy titles such as “A Christmas Kiss,” “1500 Steps,” and “Letters to God,” among others.

Xfinity X1 subscribers can access the service by saying “Dove Channel” into their X1 voice remote control or by finding it within the networks section of Xfinity on Demand. Dove Channel can be added to X1 customers’ service for $4.99 per month and included in the monthly cable bill.

Launched in September 2015, Dove Channel was created to offer programming, including children’s fare, that meets the content standards of The Dove Foundation, a non-profit organization whose mission is to encourage and promote the creation, production, distribution and consumption of wholesome family entertainment.

“Cinedigm is pleased to bring our top-tier family-focused content to X1 and to reach even more viewers from coast-to-coast,” Bill Sondheim, president of Cinedigm Entertainment Group, said in a statement. “Dove Channel offers unique values-based films and programs that are safe for the whole family and Xfinity X1 is the perfect home for this vast library of inspiring content.”

 

 

 

Sky Boss Jeremy Darroch Says He’s ‘Sticking Around’ Euro Pay-TV Operator Following Comcast’s Acquisition

Jeremy Darroch, chief executive of Comcast Corp.’s newly-owned Sky subsidiary, said he plans on remaining at the U.K. satellite TV operator following Comcast’s $40 billion acquisition.

Speaking Oct. 25 on Comcast’s fiscal call, Darroch said he looked forward to leading Sky, which has more than 15 million subscribers, including subsidiaries Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia.

“We’re all energized by the next phase of growth and the additional opportunities that being part of Comcast will bring, on top of delivering our existing plans,” he said.

The news seemed to please Comcast chairman/CEO Brian Roberts, who introduced Darroch on the fiscal call. Indeed, for Darroch – who received a $47.4 million golden parachute following the close of the acquisition – not remaining at Sky could have proved a challenge to Comcast’s nascent international strategies.

“We’re really excited and pleased with the [Sky] management team” said Roberts. “We are delighted that Jeremy and many of the team, the senior team, we hope and believe are going to stay with the company.”

With Roberts agreeing to pay more than twice what 21stCentury Fox offered for outstanding interest in Sky, media analysts in the United States have questioned how the deal will be accretive for Comcast shareholders going forward.

“It seems as though they would like investors to forget that Sky is also a satellite TV provider, and satellite video distribution is increasingly becoming obsolete,” Craig Moffett, with MoffettNathanson Research, wrote in a note last month.

 

 

Comcast Q3 Pay-TV Subs Continue to Decline

Comcast Cable maybe slowly embracing third-party over-the-top video service such as Netflix, YouTube and Sling TV, but it continues to jettison pay-TV subscribers.

The cable operator Oct. 25 disclosed it lost 106,000 subscribers in the third quarter (ended Sept. 30), and improvement from the 125,000 subs lost in the previous-year period.

In reality, Comcast ended the quarter with 22 million video subs – down 375,000 subs from 22.39 million last year.

At the same time, Comcast is one of the nation’s largest ISPs, adding 334,000 residential broadband customers in the quarter – up 83.5% from 182,000 customer additions last year. The company ended the period with more than 24.7 million residential high-speed Internet customers, compared to 23.5 million customers last year.

It was the best Q3 for broadband additions in 10 years. Indeed, broadband revenue increased 9.6% in the quarter to $4.3 billion. Revenue is up 9.1% to $12.7 billion through the first nine months of the fiscal year.

“Comcast Cable’s pre-tax earnings growth was the fastest in six years, and customer relationship growth accelerated,” Brian Roberts, CEO of Comcast Corp., said in a statement.

 

Comcast, Ticketmaster Partner for Kelly Clarkson Concert Tickets

Comcast Cable and Ticketmaster Sept. 18 announced an industry-first integration that enables Xfinity X1 subscribers to find concert tour dates and buy tickets directly on the television through Ticketmaster’s open ticketing platform.

This integration coincides with three-time Grammy winner Kelly Clarkson and her 2019 “Meaning of Life” tour. Beginning today, X1 subs can simply say “Kelly Clarkson Tour” into their “voice remote” to take advantage of a special presale window and see a list of Clarkson’s local performance dates and venues right on the TV.

“Our team is always thinking of new ways to reach more fans by extending Ticketmaster’s open platform,” Dan Armstrong, SVP & GM, distributed commerce for Ticketmaster, said in a statement. “This partnership with Comcast is a groundbreaking way to discover events and buy tickets.”

In addition to this new ticketing capability, the Kelly Clarkson experience on X1 features all things related to the artist, including the ability to stream her music right on the TV via Pandora, watch her music videos, appearances on NBC’s “The Voice,” where she will return as a coach for Season 15, and clips from previous tours, access her Web series, “A Minute and a Glass of Wine,” and more.

“X1 enables us to unveil new and innovative experiences that complement and elevate content across the platform and to add more value for customers by giving them more ways to interact with the events, entertainment, performers and brands they love,” said Nancy Spears, VP, strategy & execution at Comcast Cable.

Through Sept. 23, all Xfinity customers have access to a special presale window and can purchase their tickets via xfinity.com. Ticketmaster and X1 will continue to provide localized ticket information throughout the general admission sale starting Sept. 24.

Kelly Clarkson’s Meaning of Life tour kicks off Jan. 24th, 2019 in Oakland, Calif. The 28-city trek will see Clarkson playing arenas across the United States on her first headline run in three years. She will be joined by special guests Grammy-nominee Kelsea Ballerini and last season’s winner of NBC’s The Voice, Team Kelly’s Brynn Cartelli.

 

 

Comcast: College Students Love to Stream TV Content

Comcast Cable Sept. 13 disclosed data it said shows live is the preferred method of viewing “Xfinity on Campus” video content for college students, followed by video-on-demand and recorded. Students also prefer viewing on laptops over mobile devices and in particular during primetime on Thursday and Sunday.

Xfinity On Campus offers more than 100 live channels, including every major broadcast network, as well as channels like AMC, Bravo, Comedy Central, ESPN, FX and MTV through Comcast’s Xfinity Stream app and portal.

The service, which includes access to live and on-demand programming from 100+ broadcast, cable and premium channels anywhere on a college campus has doubled in size in just two years and is now available at more than 130 schools nationwide.

Recent additions include Boston College, The University of Alabama in Huntsville and University of California Santa Cruz.

“Tens of thousands of students use Xfinity on Campus every day to watch TV and that’s enabled us to identify some interesting viewing trends, like the significant portion of live programming college students are watching, including sports, scripted drama and reality TV,” Mike Gatzke, VP, video subscription services, at Comcast Cable. “[The platform] is helping us learn a lot about what, how and when students watch, and ultimately enabling us to further enhance and improve our service to offer them the best entertainment experience across devices, anywhere on campus.”

The data was compiled from January through June 2018 and showed:

Live TV Matters: 44 percent of total video consumption was live, followed by video on demand at 37 percent, and DVR at 19 percent.

TGISunday and TGIThursdays: Students spend the most time watching TV on Sundays and Thursdays, while spending the least amount on Saturdays.  And 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. is still the most popular viewing time across all days of the week.

Biggest Screen Wins: Even without TVs, students still revert to the biggest screen available; twice as much consumption happens on computers and laptops verses mobile devices.

Sports Reign: Live sports dominated the top 10 most-watched programs, fueled by the NBA and NFL playoffs, the Winter Olympics, Super Bowl, and the NCAA basketball tournament.

 Must-See TV: Among the most popular live programs were “This is Us,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “The Bachelor,” “Jersey Shore: Family Vacation,” “Riverdale,” “The Good Doctor,” “Keeping up with the Kardashians,” “Grown-ish,” “Modern Family” and “Law & Order: SVU.”

 

 

Comcast Cable Loses 136,000 Video Subs in Q2

Comcast Cable July 26 reported it shed 136,000 video subscribers in the second quarter (ended June 30), up more than 200% from video sub loss of 45,000 during the previous-year period. The company lost 93,000 video subs in the first quarter.

Comcast ended the period with 22.1 million subs, compared to 22.5 million last year.

Video revenue decreased 1.9% to $5.6 billion from $5.7 billion, primarily reflecting a decrease in the number of residential video customers. Through the first-half of the year, cable revenue is down 1.4% to $11.2 billion from $11.4 billion last year.

Meanwhile, reflecting increases in cord-cutting and consumers shifting to over-the-top video entertainment consumption, Comcast broadband subscribers increased 61% to 226,000 from 140,000 last year to end the quarter with 24.4 million subs.

When factoring in 34,000 new broadband business subscriptions, Comcast saw its largest quarterly high-speed Internet sub growth in 10 years.

“These strong customer metrics were balanced with robust [pre-tax earnings] growth, fueled by high-speed Internet and business services,” Brian Roberts, CEO of Comcast Corp., said in a statement.

Separately, Comcast said it spent $23 million in the quarter on costs related to the aborted acquisition of 20thCentury Fox Film and ongoing purchase attempt of British satellite TV operator Sky.

Roberts on the July 26 fiscal call, said the cabler dropped its pursuit of Fox assets largely because of escalating costs.

“We thought we couldn’t build enough shareholder value by making the price that it seemed, in our judgement, to be able to buy it at, which was increasing,” said Roberts.

The executive said the company remains on track to acquire Sky, which he characterized as a “unique” fit and a good use of corporate capital.

“It will fit well,” Roberts said.

Comcast Expands Xfinity TV International Content

Comcast has expanded the number of international channels available to Xfinity TV customers by including 42 networks, now available nationally on Xfinity X1 and through the Xfinity Stream TV app and portal on mobile devices, computers, and Roku devices in the home.

From Bollywood movies and Chinese news, to Russian cinema and Brazilian telenovelas, X1 customers can now find foreign-language content from as STAR India PLUS, Zee TV, TV Asia, Globo, Record TV, TV5Monde, TV JAPAN and Willow sports content.

Coupled with the recent addition of Sling International on X1, the international experience on X1 now includes more than 415 networks in more than 20 languages, according to the company.

“The content is organized and curated in a way that makes search and discovery by geography or language simple and easy,” according to a Comcast press release.

X1 customers can just say “International” to go directly to the International destination on Xfinity on Demand, the press release stated. Additionally, customers can use their voice to discover programming relevant to a specific region of the world, for instance saying “Asian entertainment,” “South Asian entertainment,” “European entertainment” or “Brazilian entertainment.” X1 customers generated more than 1.5 billion voice commands in the first quarter of 2018 alone, according to Comcast.

“Xfinity X1 is now the go-to platform for the best international programming and viewing experience,” said Rebecca Simpson, executive director, international strategy for Comcast Cable. “With the demand for multicultural content increasing, we are thrilled to complement our existing array of international programming by adding more channels all thoughtfully curated into an easy way to navigate, discover and enjoy.”

Comcast Cable Getting Epix

Comcast May 22 announced it will afford Xfinity subscribers direct-access to Epix — the premium TV network recently sold by Lionsgate to MGM, beginning June 13.

Epix’s programming, which includes original series “Deep State,” and more than 2,000 feature films such as FencesArrival, and films from the “James Bond,” “Star Trek” and “Rocky” franchiseswill be available across all Xfinity TV platforms, including the voice-enabled X1 platform, as well as on devices in and out of home via the Xfinity Stream app and Web portal.

Epix joins Netflix and YouTube as major third-party home entertainment brands granted access within Comcast Cable’s walled ecosystem.

“Our goal has always been to offer our customers more choices and the ability to access all the programming they desire when and where they want it,” Daniel Spinosa, VP of video entertainment services at Comcast Cable, said in a statement.

Other original EPix programing coming to Comcast includes the second season of dark comedy, “Get Shorty,” starring Ray Romano and Chris O’Dowd, and season three of CIA drama, “Berlin Station.” In addition, a new version of the seminal competition series, “The Contender” from executive producer Mark Burnett, will debut later this year.

 

Report: Multichannel Subscriptions Fall Slightly in Q1, But Get Virtual Lift

Combined cable, direct broadcast satellite (DBS) and telecom multichannel subscriptions fell 0.8% sequentially in the first quarter ended March 31, to 93.2 million, including 90.3 million residential customers.

That’s according to the Q1 2018 U.S. Multichannel Subscriber Report by Kagan, a media research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence.

However, noteworthy gains for virtual platforms DirecTV NOW and Sling TV cut the quarterly subscription losses in half, raising the overall residential figure to 94.1 million.

Other findings:

  • The residential multichannel penetration rate stood at 76.1% as of March 31 when including the virtual smartphone platforms owned by AT&T and DISH Network (DirecTV NOW and Sling TV).
  • Cable operators logged their largest first-quarter video subscriber decline on record, with the top two multiple system operators, Comcast and Charter, accounting for 59% of the drop.
  • Telco video appears to be regaining its footing as AT&T’s U-verse stabilizes. The platform’s video customer losses fell below 100,000 for the first time since the third quarter of 2015.
  • DBS losses ramped back up in the first quarter, bringing the sector’s total down to 31.1 million.For more information, visit www.spglobal.com/marketintelligence.

Comcast Loses 96,000 Cable Subs in Q1

Comcast Cable April 25 said it lost 96,000 video subscribers in the fiscal first quarter (ended March 31), compared to adding 42,000 subs in the previous-year period. The cabler ended the period with 22.2 million video subs – down 288,000 subs from 22.5 million last year.

The decline underscores ongoing secular declines in pay-TV to alternative distribution channels as witnessed by Comcast shedding 151,000 video subs in 2017. The cabler gained 161,000 subs in 2016.

Meanwhile, Comcast added 379,000 high-speed Internet subscribers, which was down from 429,000 additions last year. The cabler ended the period with 26.2 million broadband subs compared to 25.1 million subs during the previous-year period.

Indeed, Comcast added more than 1.1 million high-speed Internet subscribers over the past year.

“Our steady increase in customer relationships continued, balanced with solid growth in [pre-tax earnings], reflecting momentum in our high-speed Internet and business services segments,” CEO Brian Roberts said in a statement.