Comcast Today: Guess Who Likes The Time Warner Merger

Plus: Will you soon rent your TV from Comcast, too?

There is a fan of the Comcast-Time Warner merger: Time Warner.

The Hollywood Reporter:

Time Warner Cable CEO Rob Marcus told an investor conference Wednesday in more detail why his company’s board agreed to sell to Comcast, calling the proposed combination a dream deal with big upside potential.

Speaking at the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet & Telecom Conference in Palm Beach, Florida, he said his management team was focused on maximizing shareholder value and enhancing consumers’ user experience in evaluating possible deals. “The combination truly is a dream combination,” he concluded. “The value creation opportunity is huge.”

“I have every confidence that the deal will close,” he said when asked about the regulatory outlook for the transaction. And he reiterated that the companies continue to target a close around year-end. “Our view is that it is totally approvable,” Marcus said about the deal.

Other Comcastic headlines:

• Sharp Corp. is in tie-up talks with leading U.S. cable operator Comcast Corp., sources said. In the possible tie-up, for which details are still unavailable, the Osaka-based electronics maker is expected to supply flat-panel television sets to be leased out to subscribers of Comcast’s services. Sharp is expected to provide cable-enabled large TVs with screen sizes of at least 60 inches. Sharp believes the collaboration with Comcast will help boost sales since Comcast has service contracts with more than 20 million households across the United States. (The Japan Times)

Tennis Channel has lost a game and a set in its discrimination cases against Comcast, but it still believes that it can win the match if the FCC agrees with a new petition asking it to review the matter again. The filing follows a U.S. Supreme Court decision last month not to review an appeals court decision that vacated a 2012 FCC order. The regulators agreed that Comcast had discriminated against Tennis Channel by putting it on an extra-fee sports tier while putting similar channels that it owns — Golf Channel and NBC Sports Network — on the expanded basic tier. The appeals court concluded that the FCC offered no evidence to refute Comcast’s position that it made a simple financial judgment that few subscribers wanted to watch tennis. (Deadline New Yorkl)

• Shortly after Neil Smit was named CEO of Comcast Cable in February 2013, he approached Steve Burke, CEO of subsidiary NBC Universal, about developing a digital distribution platform capable of selling and renting movies and TV shows. In a matter of months Comcast readied its broadband Xfinity On Demand digital media store, launching it in November with almost immediate dividends. That’s because Universal Studios Home Entertainment launched the studio’s box office hit, Despicable Me 2, first on Comcast’s movie store over the Thanksgiving weekend. Indeed, Smit said VOD transactions are up 20%, with VOD views (including free content) up 25%. “It [has] surprised us how well the product has done,” Smit said. “I think the value of having the two companies (Comcast and NBC Universal) together is really in that ability to pick up the phone and throw an idea past your counterpart and get things done without signing contracts for six months.”(Home Media Magazine)

• Comcast Corporation will host a conference call with the financial community to discuss financial results for the first quarter on Tuesday, April 22, 2014 at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time (ET). Comcast will issue a press release reporting its results earlier that morning. (Business Wire)