Comcast Adds Bodies to Improve Customer Service

Comcast is going to try to fix its customer-service woes the old-fashioned way: By throwing bodies at it.

The company announced Monday it is tripling the size of its “social care team” — the folks who respond to customer complaints via Facebook and Twitter — and equipping them to help solve problems quickly.

“The social care team has access to all the same advanced tools and training as our call center agents do, which means they can quickly jump in to solve problems,” Tom Karnishak, Comcast’s senior vice president for customer services, said in a blog post. “They also have a direct line to our tech teams so they can schedule appointments.”

Other news outlets said the announcement means the social care staff will increase its numbers from 20 to more than 60. Company officials indicated that a number of those new jobs would be created in Philadelphia as part of the initiative. Read more »

Apple to Go After Comcast With Web TV Offering

Apple logo FooTToo / Shutterstock.com | Comcast Center, Jeff Fusco

Apple logo, FooTToo / Shutterstock.com | Comcast Center, Jeff Fusco

Apple and Comcast are about to start competing head-to-head.

The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that Apple is planning a “Web TV” service — basically a stripped-down cable offering, delivered via the Internet — that would feature 25 channels. It’s a Comcast cable competitor that, as of now, will carry no channels actually owned by Comcast.

That means no NBC. No Bravo. No SyFy. Read more »

HBO Go: The Difference Between Apple and Comcast

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Here’s why Apple is at the top of America’s most-loved companies and Comcast nearer the bottom: Apple is trying to make HBO available to more people — and Comcast, well, Comcast sometimes gets in the way.

News that HBO Go would be available on Apple devices almost overshadowed Monday’s formal unveiling of the Apple Watch. “For years we’ve been praying for HBO to shrug off the cable companies and let us binge on Game of Thrones, and now that they’ve come through, it’s time to put up (our money) or shut up (and keep using our parents’ logins),” GQ said in reaction.

Comcast, meanwhile, has lately been buried under a chorus of complaints that it won’t let its customers stream HBO Go to another device — the PS4 gaming module.

“HBO Go is finally available for Playstation 4 users, huzzah! Unless you have Comcast. Then you’re shit out of luck, because the cable giant isn’t supporting it,” Gizmodo reported last week. Read more »

Could Comcast Buy Netflix?

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Does Comcast have its eye on Netflix?

Hard to believe, considering how the companies have feuded in the last year. Netflix has accused Comcast of slowing the delivery of its video into consumers homes and has actively opposed the Philadelphia cable company’s merger with Time Warner Cable.

If the merger falls through, one analyst says, Netflix represents a natural next acquisition target for Kabletown.

“With Netflix now at a $30 billion market cap with most of its profits reinvested in overseas expansion, acquiring Netflix would be massively dilutive to Comcast shareholders. However, Netflix has no control shareholders and we have to imagine the board would listen to a truly compelling offer from Comcast,” writes Rich Greenfield at BTIG Research. “Tech is hard and traditional media companies are simply not offering best-in-class apps across an array of devices. With consumers increasingly interested in ad-free streaming, Netflix could provide Comcast with an incredible team and platform to learn from, which could accelerate Comcast’s virtual MVPD efforts. Not to mention, Comcast could further the reach of Netflix domestically by integrating the service into its set-top boxes.” Read more »

The Odd Racial Discrimination Lawsuit Against Comcast

Byron Allen, in happier times. | Shutterstock.com

Byron Allen, in happier times. | Shutterstock.com

We’ve honestly not been sure how much attention to give the following item, because it’s just a little odd.

But here goes: Comcast is being sued. By Byron Allen. (Older folks will remember him from the show Real People; younger folks might recognize him from his syndicated celebrity interview show, Kickin’ It With Byron Allen.) For racial discrimination. And the proof of that racial discrimination? Well … Comcast has Al Sharpton on the payroll.

Yup. Read more »

Why Net Neutrality Is Good for Comcast

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So what if Thursday’s net neutrality vote by the FCC isn’t that big a deal for Comcast?

Yes, we know that Comcast wasn’t happy with the outcome. We know that lawsuits will ensue. We know that maybe (maybe) the Time Warner Cable merger is in question.

But  could the conventional wisdom be wrong?

The Christian Science Monitor says yes:

Despite the outcry, however, nothing about the way companies like Comcast and Verizon currently do business will change, at least in the near term. No ISP actually offers a “fast lane” for premium content, nor do they block or slow down certain websites. Financially, the specter of regulation hasn’t had much of an impact, either. A group of telecommunications CEOs sent the FCC a letter in May warning that governmental overreach could have an “investment-chilling effect.” But as Tim Wu pointed out in the New Yorker Thursday, stocks for broadband providers actually jumped after Mr. Wheeler first announced net neutrality rules on Feb. 4, and they’ve stayed high.

This is all par for the course when it comes to regulating communication, says Chip Pickering, CEO of COMPTEL, a lobbying group for Internet content providers, in a phone interview. He argues that the biggest telephone and cable companies have always opposed regulations that would create a more competitive field, from the breakup of AT&T in the 1980s to the overhaul of the Telecommunication Act in 1996. “Incumbent [companies] always oppose it,” he says, “but in every case their values increased and their services got better.” In five years, he argues, companies like Comcast and Verizon will have benefited as much as start-ups.

Read more »

Comcast Made $68 Billion in 2014

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It was another great year for Comcast.

The Philadelphia-based company earned $68.8 billion during 2014, officials said in a quarterly earnings report this morning. That’s a 6.4 percent increase over 2013’s take of $64.6 billion; excluding the Olympics, which brought the company $1.1 billion through its NBCUniversal division, revenue was still up 4.7 percent.

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 7.28.25 AM

The result of all that success? The company is increasing its stock dividend by $1 per share — the seventh consecutive year of a dividend increase — and announcing it will buy back $4.25 billion in stock during 2015.

“2014 was a great year financially, operationally, and strategically for Comcast NBCUniversal,” Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said in a press release. “We enter 2015 with great momentum and significant opportunities ahead, and we look forward to receiving regulatory approval for the Time Warner Cable merger.”
Read more »

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