Comcast Under Investigation by U.S. Department of Justice

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

You know those local ads that appear on national cable TV shows for a cheesesteak place, car dealership or furniture store? Sometimes panned because of low video and sound quality, they’re actually part of a $5 billion market that allows advertisers to target small segments of the population. Read more »

Comcast Rate Hikes Starting January 1


Comcast customers can expect their bills to go up at the start of the new year. A new rate card obtained by BizPhilly shows that the company plans on raising rates in a number of areas on January 1, 2016.

Here’s a rundown: Read more »

Former Comcast Employee Sentenced to Prison for Stealing From Company Retirement Accounts

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

A Coatesville, Pa. woman has been sentenced to 36 months in prison for seven counts of wire fraud for her role in embezzling approximately $124,876 from Comcast employee retirement accounts.

Laura Wayne, 38, was an administrator of retirement accounts at Comcast, and worked for the company from June 2010 until January 2014. She used her position to create dummy accounts in the names of family and friends, according to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Read more »

Comcast Invests Big in Virtual Reality

Technology from NextVR on display at an NBA game between the Golden State Warriors and New Orleans Pelicans.

Technology from NextVR on display at an NBA game between the Golden State Warriors and New Orleans Pelicans.

The merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable may have failed but the two cable companies are coming together around a technology with the potential to disrupt the television industry: Virtual reality.

The two companies have taken part in a $30.5 million investment round in NextVR Inc., a Laguna Beach, Calif. company that recently used VR technology to broadcast the opening night NBA game between the Golden State Warriors and the New Orleans Pelicans. It also broadcasted a Democratic presidential debate and a Coldplay concert. NextVR says it’s the “only company capable of transmitting live high definition, three-dimensional virtual reality content over the Internet delivering a completely immersive and life-like experience for the viewer.” The company has 23 granted or pending patents. Read more »

Comcast, Cosby Make List of 2015’s Top Branding Scandals

Comcast Cosby

It’s never too early for a “Best Of The Year” list, and a new one from Inc. magazine caught my eye. It’s a list of the Top 10 Branding Scandals of 2015.

The top scandal involved Amazon and the blistering expose from the New York Times reporting that the company has a “bruising” and “harsh” corporate culture. It also detailed how the cut-throat environment makes grown men cry at their desks, and encourages people to tattle on each other. Amazon called it a misrepresentation and issued this strongly worded response. Read more »

Leaked Comcast Docs: Asking About “Net Neutrality” or “Netflix” Gets You Escalated to Special Customer-Service Division

Recently leaked instructional documents from Comcast reveal that the company is expecting calls about net neutrality and Netflix — two subjects very sensitive to Comcast leadership. Net neutrality has been a hot topic because of the worry that Internet service providers might grant “Internet fast lanes” to customers paying more money. Meanwhile, Netflix and Comcast are working together, but have been at odds in the recent past.

The documents show that Comcast customer-service representatives are told to immediately escalate calls about net neutrality or Netflix to a different service unit. Read more »

Leaked Comcast Docs: Data Caps Have Nothing to Do With Network Congestion

(Gil C / Shutterstock)

(Gil C / Shutterstock)

Comcast’s new data caps for Internet usage aren’t meant to keep its network running smoothly. Instead, the goal is “fairness and providing a more flexible policy to our customers,” according to leaked Comcast instructional documents found on Reddit on Friday.

Comcast has implemented four different data usage trials in the United States — and the most recent plans charge users $10 for every 50 GB of data they use over the 300 GB threshold. Or, users can buy an unlimited data plan for an extra $30 in Florida. (It’s $35 in cities in its Big South territory like Atlanta, Shreveport La. and Chattanooga, Tenn.)

Read more »

ThinkFest Recap: Comcast on Analyzing Viewing Data to Offer Commercials Just for You

Sam Schwartz at ThinkFest.

Sam Schwartz at ThinkFest.

ThinkFest is streaming live all day. Watch ThinkFest here.

Approximately 600 households in Philadelphia tell the Neilson ratings folks what we’re watching on traditional cable TV. That sure seems less scientific than the digital video landscape which allows for targeted advertisements aimed at people based exactly on what content they’re consuming.

Now Comcast is aiming to take a more personalized approach to its own advertising process, according to Sam Schwartz, chief business development officer at Comcast who spoke at ThinkFest 2015. In fact, he said we’re nearing the day when two next-door neighbors watching the same TV show will get different ads during a commercial break.

“With the X1 operating system, we have an incredible power to collect data and make it measurable,” he said, noting several times during his talk that data collection is done in a “privacy-protected way.”

He also said: “The more information you know about your customer, the better products you can build for that customer. And you can monetize better.”

The company is also wrestling with changes in how people consume video content. Five years ago, 5 percent of all video consumed was online, said Schwartz. Now that number is 29 percent.

He also spoke on a number of other topics: Read more »

Comcast Explains Epic Facebook Fail

(Gil C / Shutterstock)

(Gil C / Shutterstock)

Comcast tried to smack talk one of its competitors on social media, but it backfired in a big way. On its Xfinity Facebook page, Comcast took a jab at Google Fiber for losing service in Kansas City while many were watching the Royals in the World Series.

The company targeted this photo and comment to customers in the Kansas City region: Read more »

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