Yesterday, Comcast and NBCUniversal filed the second annual report detailing implementation of the conditions adopted by the FCC in the NBCUniversal Transaction Order. As the report shows, the company continues to meet and in some cases exceed its obligations. This year’s highlights include:
– Comcast has now launched three of ten independent networks with the 2012 launches of two new minority owned or operated independent networks: ASPiRE, a family-friendly general entertainment channel for multicultural and general audiences, which is now available in seven million homes across 16 of the top 25 African American markets in Comcast’s footprint; and Baby First Americas, a Hispanic-focused, English-language channel being distributed in 19 Comcast markets.
– NBCUniversal continues to preserve and enhance local news by making strategic investments in its owned stations. All 10 stations in the NBC Owned Television Stations division now have dedicated investigative news units, an expansion that required the creation of 30 new positions, bringing the division’s roster of investigative journalists to over 60. The Telemundo Stations Group invested almost $7 million in capital improvements, including the expansion of local news, newsgathering equipment, transmission upgrades and technology, and distribution platforms.
– The NBC Owned Television Stations division and the Telemundo Station Group each significantly over-delivered on their commitment to locally produce an additional 1,000 hours of local news and information programming: the 10 stations in the NBC Owned Television Stations division collectively produced and aired approximately 1,700 hours of regularly scheduled local news programming over and above the amount aired in the year preceding the closing of the Transaction. This exceeds the requirement in the FCC Conditions by approximately 70%. Similarly, nine of the owned Telemundo stations collectively produced and aired close to 1,400 hours of regularly scheduled local news programming over and above the amount aired in the year preceding the closing of the Transaction, exceeding the requirement in the FCC Conditions by approximately 40%.
– NBCUniversal’s partnerships with non-profit news organizations (Pro Publica and NBC 4 New York; The Chicago Reporter and NBC 5 Chicago; WHYY and NBC 10 Philadelphia; KPCC Southern California Public Radio and NBC 4 Southern California) have resulted in at least a dozen investigations, and have generated dozens of on-air and online news reports for the stations, as well as on the partners’ radio stations and websites.
– Comcast worked with five pilot communities (Fresno, CA; Hialeah, FL; Houston, TX; Peterborough, NH, Philadelphia, PA) to develop and launch innovative platforms to host public, educational, and governmental (PEG) as well as other local interest programming on VOD and online. Each community launched a custom-built website where traditional PEG programmers and local content partners can create, manage, and publish content "channels" accessible to anyone on the Internet.
Major Sporting Events on Broadcast
– The NBC broadcast network aired more than 272.5 hours of London 2012 Olympics coverage with an audience averaging 31.1 million viewers per night over 17 nights in primetime. The Telemundo Network also experienced record-breaking viewership during its more than 173 hours of Olympic coverage.
– Comcast and NBCUniversal invested over $24 million in public service announcement campaigns focused on parental controls, digital literacy, childhood obesity, and nutritional guidelines, exceeding the value requirement in the FCC Conditions by more than $9 million.
– Total children’s programming choices available on Comcast’s VOD platform now average 5,900 per month – roughly 2,000 more choices than the pre-Transaction benchmark and 1,000 more than required by the year-three milestone in the FCC Conditions.
– Comcast increased the number of VOD choices available to its customers at no additional charge to an average of more than 36,700 per month, more than doubling the 15,000-choice requirement in the FCC Conditions. Nearly 9,000 of those monthly VOD choices were broadcast content.
Broadband Adoption and Deployment
– Comcast expanded its broadband network by 1,964 miles, surpassing the annual 1,500 mile requirement by 464 miles, and bringing the combined 2011 and 2012 build out total to 4,008 miles or 89% of the total three-year commitment. In addition, Comcast extended its broadband plant to 221,891 additional homes, exceeding the milestone with a cumulative total of 421,767 additional homes or 105% of the three-year commitment.
– Comcast provided an additional 213 courtesy video and broadband Internet access accounts to schools, libraries, and other community institutions in underserved areas in which broadband penetration is low and there is a high concentration of low income residents. This brings the combined 2011 and 2012 total of qualifying courtesy account services to 424 or 71% percent of the three-year commitment.
– Internet Essentials by Comcast, the largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption program in America, has now connected well over 100,000 low-income families to the Internet in just 18 months. Outreach efforts have remained strong with participation from over 4,000 school districts, or nearly 30,000 schools, as well as nearly 7,000 community-based organizations, government agencies and federal, state, and local elected officials.
– Comcast and NBCUniversal made significant strides in each of the five diversity areas that were the focus of the commitments: (1) governance; (2) workforce recruitment and career development; (3) procurement; (4) programming; and (5) community investment and partnerships. The company’s external Joint Diversity Advisory Council continues to play a significant role in advising on the Company’s diversity and inclusion efforts.