In February 2013, we filed our second annual report detailing our progress over the preceding year in implementing the conditions adopted by the FCC in the NBCUniversal Transaction Order. We are realizing the substantial public-interest benefits promised by this transaction while also carrying out the competitive safeguards sought by the government. Our achievements over the past two years include increasing broadband adoption among low-income Americans, expanding local news coverage, providing a broader range of diverse programming, and launching new independent channels with diverse ownership.
COMCAST BROADBAND OPPORTUNITY PLAN — INTERNET ESSENTIALS
Internet Essentials, the largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption program in America, has connected nearly 220,000 low-income families (an estimated 900,000 low-income Americans) to the Internet in the first 22 months of the program — most for the first time.
Read more about our digital literacy initiatives in the Enrich Communities section.
DIVERSE PROGRAMMING AND INDEPENDENT NETWORKS
Comcast and NBCUniversal continue to strengthen and enrich our offering of diverse programming choices — expanding the distribution of diverse networks to millions of homes, and featuring hundreds of on demand and online choices geared toward African American, Asian American, Hispanic, and other diverse audiences.
For more details, see our Promote Diversity and Inclusion section.
ENRICHING OUR LOCAL PROGRAMMING
Comcast and NBCUniversal continue to preserve and enhance local news by making strategic investments in our NBC Owned Television Stations division. All 10 of our owned stations now have dedicated investigative news units, an expansion that involved creating 30 new positions. We now have more than 60 investigative journalists across the division and have also increased our investments in training, including sending unit members to the 2012 Investigative Reporters and Editors conference and providing sessions on computer-assisted reporting to help them develop high-impact investigative stories.
We have made significant investments in news gathering and reporting, adding news bureaus, purchasing news helicopters, upgrading technology, and building and renovating studios.
In 2012, across the 10 stations included in the NBC Owned Television Stations division, we exceeded our commitment to increase hours of local news and information programming by nearly 70%. Likewise, nine of the owned Telemundo stations collectively exceeded our commitment to increase hours of local news and information programming by about 40%.
Local news and public interest programming is also benefiting from increased synergies between the company’s news divisions. NBC News and Telemundo Media joined forces to deliver an unprecedented number of hours of political coverage in English and Spanish under the stations’ signature political banner Decision 2012.
For more details, see our Create Media that Matters section.
EXPANDING OUR VOD AND ONLINE PROGRAMMING
Comcast and NBCUniversal have surpassed our original commitment to make more content available via VOD and online. During 2012, the total number of VOD choices available at no additional charge to Comcast customers averaged 36,702 per month — more than twice the requirement of 15,000. This includes nearly 9,000 VOD broadcast content choices — the only VOD service that offers programming from all four major broadcast networks as soon as the day after it airs.
PARTNERSHIPS WITH NONPROFIT NEWS ORGANIZATIONS
We continue to maintain nonprofit news organization partnerships between the voiceofsandiego.org and NBC7 San Diego, ProPublica and NBC4 New York, The Chicago Reporter and NBC5 Chicago, WHYY and NBC10 Philadelphia, and KPCC Southern California Public Radio and NBC4 Southern California. In addition, NBC6 South Florida recently announced a partnership with the nonprofit Florida Center for Investigative Reporting to enhance the station’s local investigative reporting.
Comcast and NBCUniversal are expanding our efforts to empower parents in making informed programming choices for their children. Our programmers continue to use ratings icons that are 50% larger than they were prior to the Comcast acquisition and use high-contrast color combinations. All ratings icons, including post-commercial break events, are displayed on-screen for 15 seconds.
We invested more than $24 million in public service announcement campaigns focused on parental controls and digital literacy, plus other topics such as childhood obesity and nutritional guidelines. This investment exceeded our commitment by more than $9 million. We also continued to expand our library of Common Sense Media content, including thousands of review videos, tip videos, ratings, and recommendations that are integrated with our VOD service.
Our VOD programming choices geared toward children now average 5,900 per month. In addition, Comcast provides authenticated subscribers with access to most of these additional VOD programs through xfinitytv.com. All 10 NBC Owned Television Stations are airing an additional (fourth) hour of children’s programming every week on their qualifying multicast channels. The Telemundo Station Group is also airing an additional hour of children’s programming every week on each station’s primary channel, and now airs two hours of children’s educational programming on its primary channel on each Saturday and Sunday morning.
BROADCAST TELEVISION INVESTMENTS
Telemundo’s 2011–12 broadcast season was the network’s best ever. Telemundo was the only Spanish-language broadcast network with growth in total viewers, marking its second straight season as the fastest growing Spanish-language broadcast network. The ratings success was underscored by the best primetime performance in the network’s history, including more than 173 hours of the London 2012 Olympic Games on Telemundo. Already the No. 1 producer of Spanish-language primetime content, Telemundo announced it will increase its original production by more than 50% at its Miami-based Telemundo Studios, further solidifying its position as the leading media company producing original content by and for Hispanics.
Comcast has delivered on our commitment to establish a $20 million venture capital fund to expand opportunities for businesses with minority ownership in new media content and applications. As a first investment, Comcast Ventures partnered with DreamIt Ventures in Philadelphia, a leading technology accelerator program, to provide training for startup businesses with minority ownership.
In 2012, Comcast Ventures renewed its partnership with DreamIt Ventures to fund a minority entrepreneur accelerator program called DreamIt Access. Participating startup companies received seed funding and had access to DreamIt Ventures’ benefits and services, including business talent, legal and accounting services, mentoring, office space, guidance from leading business visionaries, and contacts to reach the next level of development. Through the DreamIt Access partnership, DreamIt and Comcast sponsored 15 minority-led startups through the end of 2012, all but one of which is still operating. In addition, Comcast has invested directly in several minority-led businesses.
BROADBAND NETWORK EXPANSION
We expanded our broadband network by 1,964 miles in 2012, surpassing our target by 464 miles. In addition, we extended our broadband network to 221,891 additional homes — bringing our two-year cumulative total to 421,767 and surpassing our three-year commitment of 400,000 homes in just two years.
Comcast and NBCUniversal committed to maintain major sporting events on the NBC broadcast network — evidenced by the more than 272.5 hours of London 2012 Olympics coverage aired on the network. The NBC Network’s Olympic coverage averaged 31.1 million viewers over 17 nights in primetime. NBC will be the home of the Olympics through 2020.
DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION
Comcast and NBCUniversal have gone above and beyond our commitments to enhance diversity in various areas. We are striving to develop the premier model of diversity and inclusion in the communications and entertainment industries.
For more details, see our Promote Diversity and Inclusion section.
PUBLIC, EDUCATIONAL, AND GOVERNMENTAL (PEG) PROGRAMMING
Comcast committed to strengthen PEG programming by developing a pilot program to host PEG content on VOD and online. Through our Project Open Voice initiative, we placed community-designated PEG content on XFINITY VOD and in online test platforms in six pilot communities.
To learn more, see Bringing Social Issues to the Forefront.