Could Comcast Investment Solve Customer Service Issues?

Identifying unsatisfied customers, to make them happy again.


You know Comcast has been in trouble lately over customer service issues? Comcast Ventures, the (natch) venture capital arm of the company, just made a big investment that might help resolve those issues.

Portland Business Journal reports that Comcast Ventures was the big investor in Lytics, a software company that just raised $7 million in funding. Andrew Cleland, a partner at Comcast Ventures, will join the Lytics board.

And what does Lytics do?

Lytics, which is an alum of the Portland Incubator Experiment, has developed a marketing platform that takes in data from the different tools that marketers use and, using machine learning and predictive analytics, supplies audience data and next-step suggestions.

Wait for it….

For example, the platform could take in marketing data about a brand’s users from the different marketing tools — such as email, social media and sales — and determine what subset of users are most likely to leave. Once those users are segmented, the system suggests an action, such as sending a targeted email or social message, to just those users to keep them on board. Marketers can take action on the suggestion with one-click and that user subset can be queued up into whatever social media or email tool the marketer is using.

Emphasis added. So, the possible downside is that the product will let companies like Comcast use its data to understand your mind a little more completely. But the upside is that such efforts will help it offer proactive carrots to stay, and thus might result in fewer phone calls where Comcast reps make last-ditch, cajoling efforts to keep customers from departing. We can hope, anyway.

Earnings Call

Moving on, Comcast reports its quarterly earnings tomorrow. Big, rising profits are expected — again — but analysts will be watching closely to see how quickly subscribers are turning away from the company’s cable business, and how other units like theme parks, NBCUniversal, and more are making up the slack.

Some of those headlines about Comcast’s earnings:

Broadband Booming Amid Cord-Cutting Anxiety: Overall, profits are rising. Comcast is expected to show net income of $1.86 billion, compared to $1.73 billion for the same period last year, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. Earnings per share are forecast to rise 8.8 percent to 70 cents per share, compared to 65 cents per share a year earlier. Comcast’s quarterly revenue is expected to increase 4.3 percent to $16.84 billion, up from $16.15 billion a year earlier. The Philadelphia cable and media giant will report results on Thursday before the market opens. A conference call led by CEO Brian L. Roberts is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. ET. (

Comcast’s Q3 Earnings Preview: Comcast will report its Q3 2014 earnings on October 23. While we expect steady growth in the broadband business, we are eager to see how pay-TV subscriber additions trended in the quarter. The company lost 144,000 subscribers in the previous quarter, marking its best Q2 for this metric in the past six years. Triple play bundling has helped Comcast gain more subscribers in the past few quarters. The company’s media arm, NBCUniversal (NBCU) has been an important growth driver for the company in the recent past. We believe that NBCU is likely to benefit from the continued success of its cable as well as broadcasting network, and the theme parks. We will be looking for an update on the recent nod to develop a theme park resort in Beijing. (Trefis)

Comcast Looks Appealing As Earnings Near: For the quarter, analysts are fairly upbeat about Comcast. If all goes according to expectations, the business will report revenue of $16.83 billion, which will represent a 4% increase over the $16.15 billion management reported during the third quarter of the company’s 2013 fiscal year. Based on Comcast’s historical performance, the largest nominal contributor to the company’s revenue growth year-over-year will likely be its Cable Communications segment, while the fastest-growing part of the business will likely be its Filmed Entertainment segment. (Seeking Alpha)

In other news

Senator Pushes Comcast to Eschew Internet Fast Lanes: Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy this week penned a letter to Comcast that urged the cable giant not to engage in paid prioritization on the Web. Though Comcast said it has no plans for paid prioritization deals, “I remain gravely concerned that if such agreements are permitted, market incentives may drive Comcast and other Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to change that position in the future,” Leahy wrote to Comcast Executive Vice President David Cohen. Paid prioritization – often referred to as “Internet fast lanes” – would allow an ISP to favor the traffic of a certain company or service over another (Netflix could pay to load faster than Hulu for Comcast customers, for example). It is essentially everything that net neutrality aims to avoid, but the FCC floated the idea earlier this year in order to approve net neutrality rules that would pass muster with ISPs and not face a court challenge. (

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