Four Years Later: The Comcast NBCUniversal Annual Compliance Report
Comcast and NBCUniversal have filed our fourth annual report detailing implementation of the conditions adopted by the FCC in the NBCUniversal Transaction Order. We’re proud of our track record of meeting and in many cases exceeding the requirements of the over 150 conditions of that deal.
Notwithstanding the inaccurate claims by some critics of our company, our record speaks for itself – in the four years since the transaction, not a single multichannel video programming distributor or programmer has requested arbitration or filed a program carriage complaint under the Order. We’ve continued to negotiate and execute agreements across the industry with distributors, programmers, and online video providers on mutually agreeable commercial terms without the need for any party to resort to the arbitration provisions of the conditions.
The record shows we’ve increased access to independent programming on Comcast Cable systems and maintained over 130,000 hours of independent programming on broadcast stations owned by NBCUniversal, and that concerns that this deal would lead to harm to independent programmers were unfounded.
Last week we reported our year end results for 2014, and it shows that we’ve been able to make NBCUniversal better than ever. The NBC broadcast network ended the year at No. 1 and Universal Studios had its most profitable year ever. We heavily invested in these assets to make that success possible.
Here’s a list of the report’s highlights by topic:
We continued our fair dealings with online video distributors ("OVDs"), including new or renewed content license agreements with Amazon, Crackle, Hulu, Netflix, and others, as well as deals with several MVPDs that include access to linear channels across multiple platforms. NBCUniversal also entered into a linear OVD agreement with Sony and has contracted to produce original programming for Amazon.
Comcast continues to be a demonstrated leader in supporting independent and diverse programming and remains committed to delivering programming that reflects the diverse interests of our customers across all platforms, including linear channels, On Demand ("VOD"), and Online.
We maintained major sporting events on the NBC Network, including the 2014 Winter Olympics (which dominated primetime ratings for 18 nights in a row), Super Bowl XLIX (the highest-rated telecast in U.S. history), and NFL Sunday Night Football (the No. 1 show in primetime for the past five fall TV seasons). Comcast’s substantial investment has ensured that NBC will be the broadcast home of the Olympics through 2032. In 2014, Telemundo reached its highest primetime share on record since being measured in Nielsen’s National People Meter sample. Telemundo’s national news and information programs also delivered their best broadcast year in the network’s history, according to Nielsen, bolstered by the launch of several local newscasts and "Noticias Telemundo Fin de Semana," Telemundo’s first-ever national weekend newscast.
Internet Essentials continues to be the nation’s largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption program, connecting an estimated 1.4 million low-income Americans − or more than 350,000 families − to the power of the Internet at home through July 31, 2014. And although this Condition was satisfied this past June, Comcast has since extended the service offering indefinitely.
Over the past four years, Comcast and NBCUniversal have taken significant steps toward developing the most successful model of diversity and inclusion in the communications and entertainment industry. The Company’s strategic approaches and detailed plans are designed to achieve and build upon the diversity and inclusion initiatives in five key focus areas that cut across all aspects of the business: Governance, Workforce, Procurement, Programming, and Community Investment. Detailed facts and figures spanning these five focus areas are included in Seeing the Bigger Picture, the Company’s public, three-year Diversity and Inclusion Progress Report released in mid-2014. This voluntary, best-in-class publication provides a broad assessment of the combined Company’s diversity and inclusion plans, initiatives, and progress from year-end 2010 through year-end 2013. Among the details in the report:
As of year-end 2013, there was 59% diversity among Comcast NBCUniversal’s overall workforce, more than 50% diversity at the Director levels, and 46% diversity at the Vice President-level and above.
Comcast and NBCUniversal spent more than $3 billion with diverse suppliers over the past three years, including $1.3 billion in 2013 alone.
Over the past three years, we have increased cash giving to minority-led and minority-serving organizations ("MLMS") by more than 100%.
Since 2011, in partnership with DreamIt Ventures, we have sponsored 33 minority-led technology startups through the DreamIt Access Program.
We amply exceeded the public service announcement (PSA) spend requirements in key categories:
In 2014, Comcast and NBCUniversal aired PSAs with a value of over $49.7 million on the topics of digital literacy, parental controls, nutritional guidelines, and childhood obesity. This investment exceeded the $15 million annual spend required by the Order by more than $34 million, raising the cumulative four year sum to $161 million – that is, $101 million more than the condition’s requirement.
Comcast and NBCUniversal ran over $19.7 million worth of PSAs in support of Common Sense Media’s digital literacy project during 2014.
For the fourth straight year, our owned station groups handily surpassed the requirement to expand local news and information programming. During 2014, the NBC owned stations collectively aired 2,810 and the Telemundo owned stations aired 4,620 hours of local news over and above the amount aired in the year before the closing of the NBCUniversal transaction.
Beyond the considerable, long-term investments in local news operations summarized in previous annual reports, NBCUniversal continues to preserve and enhance local news by making strategic investments in its owned stations.
The NBC Owned Television Stations division continued to make significant investments in its stations:
The news operations of the Telemundo Station Group’s stations continue to benefit from the Company’s multimillion dollar investment to support local news expansions, bolster newsgathering efforts, and ensure that each news team has the resources it needs to compete in their local markets. Enhancements to the Telemundo-owned stations’ news departments include: