Report: Comcast Wants to Sell Audience Data

Morning headlines: Company could reap big bucks by selling information about its cable customers.

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Good morning, Philadelphia. Here’s what you need to know today.

Your set-top cable box collects lots of information about your viewing habits. Now Comcast wants to sell that “treasure trove” of data to other companies.

“Comcast is in talks with audience-measurement firms and television networks, including Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN, Time Warner Inc.’s Turner Broadcasting and Discovery Communications Inc., about licensing its data to them,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “It already has a deal with its own NBCUniversal unit and at least one other media company, said people familiar with the deals.”

Comcast has so much information about viewers, in fact, that could prove a more reliable overview of TV-watching habits than the venerable Nielsen ratings. “What makes Comcast’s data potentially so powerful is that its subscribers are spread across much of the U.S., including many major markets. While Nielsen extrapolates TV ratings from a sample of 25,000 households, Comcast’s data reflects actual viewing, and will include its streaming apps.” The company is still formulating its data strategy.

“Good government” activist Gene Stilp is trying to force Kathleen Kane from office.

“Stilp said he’ll file the suit Tuesday ‘to force Governor Wolf and the Senate to remove Kathleen Kane as soon as possible,’” NewsWorks reports. “She cannot function as attorney general and also she has a list of crimes that she’s going to be tried for,” Stilp added. “This is not the person we want as attorney general.” Kane has refused to step down while she awaits trial on charges she illegally leaked grand jury testimony for political gain.

In their third debate, mayoral candidates Melissa Murray Bailey and Jim Kenney promised to be a bit more personable than Mayor Nutter.

“When I look at the thing that he could have done better it’s really about community relationships and community involvement,” Bailey said. “I think there could have been more transparency with the people in the community on what his plans were and how they could be a part of that.”

“The one thing I think I would be different with him is my relationship with city council, my relationship with Darrell Clarke is solid,” Kenney added. “John Street, the former mayor, told me, ‘Jim you need nine votes to do anything you want to do. Make sure you get at least the council president and the other eight will come.’” [CBS3]

Erie schools are asking the state for a $47 million loan to stay open during the budget impasse. Could it lead to a state budget settlement at last?

PennLive’s John L. Micek’s analysis: “If other districts catch wind of what Erie is doing — and they will, because the district has scheduled a webinar for Tuesday to talk about it — then it’s not hard to imagine every school district from Wilkinsburg to Council Rock lining up with their hands out asking ‘Where’s mine?’” he writes. “And that could get talks moving very quickly, indeed.” Philadelphia schools have borrowed $275 million to stay open while budget talks continue in Harrisburg.

Archbishop Chaput is really tired of being called an “opponent” of Pope Francis.

A recent article in America magazine, a Catholic publication, seemed to lump him in with opponents of the pope. Chaput gave an interview to the Catholic News Agency disputing that assessment. “If the welcome we gave Pope Francis in Philadelphia last month looked like ‘opposition,’ people need a trip to a really good eye doctor,” he said. Chaput is in Rome for a synod of bishops advising Francis on how the church should relate to members who have violated its teachings on marriage and sexuality. He is a conservative considered one of the church’s leading voices against change on those issues.

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