Comcast Today: A Shower of Money in D.C.

Campaign contributions, lobbyists, and more: How the cable giant spends its money.

Comcast and its rivals in the tech industry sure are pouring a lot of cash into Washington D.C.

TechCrunch reports: “The dollars flowing into the Capitol from tech companies are showing little signs of abatement: Google spent $3.8 million on lobbying in the first quarter, AT&T $3.7 million, Verizon $3.5 million, Comcast $3.1 million, Facebook $2.8 million, Microsoft $2.1 million, Time Warner Cable $1.9 million, Oracle $1.5 million, Apple $1.1 million, and Amazon $830,000.”

Game Politics adds:

According to newly filed federal disclosures, Comcast has employed more than 80 in-house and outside lobbyists to spin the positives of the merger and to address broader competition concerns and issues related to net neutrality. Since announcing the merger in February, Comcast has deployed an army of lobbyists in D.C. and has taken advantage of Time Warner Cable’s own deep roster of consultants.

Comcast spent $290,000 in campaign contributions to members of Congress in March, more than twice what it spent in the previous month. That might explain why there are very few lawmakers opposing the deal, save Democratic Minnesota Senator Al Franken.

Comcast spent a total of $3 million in lobbying during the first quarter of this year, down from the $4.4 million it spent over the same period in 2013. Despite that spending dip, Comcast’s reach is more extensive when combined with the $1.9 million that Time Warner Cable shelled out for lobbying in the quarter. Together, the two companies’ efforts dwarfed what opponents of the deal have been able to spend.

Other Comcastic headlines:

Comcast’s monthly bills are way higher than Time Warner Cable’s: Comcast, America’s biggest cable company, is trying to acquire the second biggest, Time Warner Cable. And as both companies’ quarterly earnings this week show, Comcast’s average monthly bill is significantly higher. Does this mean, as many people fear, that cable bills for millions of Americans are going to go up, if the deal goes through? Not necessarily. These averages reflect business customers as well as residential ones. Higher bills at Comcast could also indicate that the company has a better service that TWC does, driven by its set-top box, the X1, which consumers appear to be warming to. (Quartz)

Comcast’s Fandango Snaps Up Movieclips: Fandango, the online movie-ticketing service and data site acquired by Comcast in 2007, has struck a deal with ZEFR Inc. to acquire Movieclips, an online provider of movie trailers and clips via and via 25 YouTube channels. Financial terms were not disclosed. According to the companies, the Movieclips networks features a catalog of more than 45,000 curated film clips, trailers and original video productions. Movieclips, which relies on an ad-supported business model, claims to have more than 7 million subscribers and a YouTube network that averages 200 million video views per month. (Multichannel News)

Meredith Baker Exits Comcast for Wireless Lobby: Meredith Attwell Baker, the former Federal Communications commissioner who caused a stir when she left the agency to lobby for Comcast months after the agency approved the NBCUniversal deal, is now headed for the CTIA-The Wireless Association. Baker’s first day as president and CEO of the wireless lobby will be June 2nd. She succeeds Steve Largent, who announced last October he would exit the wireless lobby after 11 years. (Ad Week)

Comcast and NBCUniversal ‘Make Change Happen’ In Communities Around the World on 13th Comcast Cares Day: Tens of thousands of Comcast and NBCUniversal employees, their family and friends, and community partners are expected to spend Saturday, April 26, giving back to their communities as they take part in Comcast Cares Day, the nation’s largest single-day corporate volunteer effort. Last year, more than 85,000 people volunteered at Comcast Cares Day projects around the world. Comcast Cares Day occurs every April, which is National Volunteer Month, and has surpassed more than 3 million volunteer hours and 500,000 volunteers since it first began in 2001. Now in its 13th year, the annual day of service has also contributed more than $14 million to local non-profit organizations. (Comcast)

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