LAUNCHING MINORITY-FOCUSED AND MINORITY-OWNED NETWORKS
In 2012, we launched two new, independent networks — BabyFirst Americas and ASPiRE — as part of a plan to significantly expand our ethnic and independent programming over the next eight years. These are the first of four new minority-owned and/ or -operated independent networks launching to Comcast Cable customers between May 2012 and January 2014.
BabyFirst Americas, proposed by Constantino "Said" Schwarz and distributed in 19 Comcast markets, is a Hispanic-focused, English-language channel designed for children and their parents, emphasizing the importance of early development of verbal, math, and motor skills. We also launched the Spanish feed of BabyFirst Americas.
Developed in partnership with entrepreneur and NBA Hall of Famer Earvin "Magic" Johnson and GMC TV (now known as UP TV), ASPiRE delivers movies, documentaries, short films, music, comedy, visual and performing arts, and faith and inspirational programs to African American families.
Read more about our partnership with ASPiRE.
SUPPORTING DIVERSE TALENT AND ISSUES
We used our production expertise to create original programming in 2012 that addressed important cultural issues and showcased talent from diverse backgrounds.
Black and Latino, an award-winning digital documentary produced by Spanish-language channel mun2, explored America’s evolving understanding of race and ethnicity. The documentary featured interviews with entertainers such as Soledad O’Brien (formerly of MSNBC), Christina Milian from The Voice, and Tatyana Ali (who starred on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air), among many others. mun2 won Best Web Series for Black and Latino at the annual Imagen Awards.
NBCUniversal offers several programs designed to develop and provide opportunities for diverse talent in television and film. Stand-Up NBC is an initiative to discover and develop comedians of diverse backgrounds. In our Short Cuts Festival panel discussions, industry experts share their knowledge and expertise with a group of up-and-coming producers and directors. We also stage the annual Advanced Improv Diversity Scholarship Showcase, a collaboration with Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre to promote diversity in the comedic arts.
Our Writers on the Verge program prepares talented employees from a variety of backgrounds for writing positions in television and film. Participants learn how to develop exceptional scripts and pitch them to a production company.
Participants in the program also get advice on how to pitch themselves as television writers. They interact with people in the industry, from network executives to showrunners and agents, and receive valuable feedback on their work and pitch style.
In 2012, all eight Writers on the Verge participants went on to sign with an agent. Several of them also became writers for NBC primetime shows, including Community, Chicago Fire, and Deception.
ENGAGING HISPANIC VIEWERS
In 2012, NBCUniversal launched nbclatino.com, an English-language website targeted to U.S.-born and English-dominant Hispanic families featuring original reporting as well as news and lifestyle content from the company’s existing properties. Also, our networks E! and Telemundo partnered to distribute E! Latino, a new mobile app featuring Spanish-language versions of E! original series and news. The launch of the app is part of E!’s initiative to better serve the Hispanic population.
We 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 video on demand (VOD) and online choices geared toward African American, Asian American, Hispanic, and other audiences. We remain strongly committed to the distribution of unaffiliated programming networks, which make up about six out of every seven networks carried by Comcast.
For our Hispanic viewers, we make Telemundo and mun2 programming available online on Comcast’s XFINITY TV portal as well as on the channels’ respective websites. Telemundo.com offers about 60 programs, and mun2.tv offers about 15 programs. For the first time in the network’s history, Telemundo offered live streaming of Olympic Games broadcast coverage together with exclusive, digital-only content featuring Olympic events, news, and announcements. Plus, Telemundo subscribers could access more than 200 hours of digital video, including all Telemundo on-air broadcasts and live streaming of trials involving Hispanic athletes.
We featured special on-demand and online programming in celebration of 2012’s Black History Month, Asian- Pacific American Heritage Month, LGBT Pride Month, Native American Heritage Month, and National Hispanic Heritage Month.
Comcast also made several highly publicized launches of new local and public-interest content on our VOD and online platforms. Many of these public-interest programming choices were also available online at xfinitytv.comcast.net.
Other programming highlights in 2012 included the following:
ASIAN AMERICAN PROGRAMMING
Expanded carriage of Mnet in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
Featured 189 hours and approximately 200 programming choices through multiple VOD services geared toward Asian Americans, including Filipino On Demand, Bollywood Hits On Demand, Cinema Asian America, Kpop, and the FUNimation Channel
Announced an agreement with Crossings TV, an Asian-focused multicultural television broadcaster, to expand its distribution into Chicago, Seattle, and San Francisco
AFRICAN AMERICAN PROGRAMMING
Featured more than 75 hours of VOD programming that delivered more than 270 choices of television entertainment and music from various African American–oriented content providers, including BET, Hip Hop On Demand, TV One, and Black Cinema On Demand
Announced the launch of xfinity.com/celebrateblacktv in January 2013 as a one-stop portal to black entertainment content from a variety of sources
Launched XFINITY Latino, a suite of video products and services developed exclusively to serve Hispanic customers; XFINITY Latino delivered 10 new popular Hispanic channels and doubled Comcast’s Hispanic On Demand content on TV and online
Offered more than 700 hours of content and more than 1,100 VOD programming choices on our Hispanic tier, including 135 choices from Telemundo and mun2
Launched nbclatino.com to offer a mix of news, politics, lifestyle, perspectives, and more to U.S.-born and English-dominant Hispanics
Launched iVillage Mujer de Hoy, the first female-focused site to feature Spanish and English stories on the same page
AMPLIFYING THE VOICE OF THE LGBT COMMUNITY
Comcast and NBCUniversal are well respected and recognized as leaders in supporting the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community through our partnerships with organizations such as the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). As part of this commitment, we sponsored the 2012 GLAAD Media Awards in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. These awards recognize and honor news and entertainment media for fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of the LGBT community.
In 2012, Focus Features celebrated a decade of making inclusive films that challenge the norm, celebrate diversity, and inspire their viewers. Focus released ParaNorman, the first major animated motion picture with an openly LGBT character, Mitch. The comedy thriller tells the story of a small town beset by zombies, until 11-year old Norman, a bullied child, and his friends including Mitch rally to save the day. At its heart, ParaNorman sends the message that courage and compassion are a hero's truest qualities.
ParaNorman was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award - the eighth Focus film to receive that distinction.
Additionally, on the eve of Focus Features’ 10-year anniversary, the company received special recognition from the Point Foundation, the nation’s largest scholarship-granting organization for LGBT students of merit. At the Point Honors New York gala, Focus' top executives accepted the Point Inspiration Award, which commemorates organizations that champion respect and inclusion of the LGBT community.