Posts Tagged ‘Bravo’

FCC approves $30 Billion NBC – Comcast deal…with many strings attached

Friday, January 21st, 2011
Image Source:

Image Source:

The Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department approved a pending $30 billion joint venture which allows Comcast to own 51 percent of NBC Universal. The approval comes 13 months after the two sides announced their plan to merge one of the nation’s largest cable and internet operators with a broadcaster whose assets include NBC and Telemundo, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and Universal Pictures. Comcast controls 24 percent of the nation’s cable subscribers and NBC owns 12 percent of what is viewed on television. A match made in heaven? Not so fast… Over the last year this deal was met with heavy opposition from consumer advocate groups who argued consumers would have less influence over the newly formed company while online distributors worried about the possibility of having to pay a premium for NBC’s content, which would be controlled by one of their largest competitors in the distribution space. (Source: LA Times Blog, Entertainment News Buzz, January 2011.)

On paper this looks like an unstoppable combination in the making, and could potentially open the door for similar deals between content providers and cable and online providers. Although some were successful and some flopped, this is not the first time we’ve seen this type of marriage before – CBS/Viacom, AOL/Time Warner, Time Warner/Turner. With Comcast controlling NBC’s network and cable shows as well as their movies, it would seem their 15 million subscription base would be the perfect captive audience to view their content with competing cable and online providers forced to pay a kings ransom for the rights to their shows and movies. The FCC, however, put conditions on the deal to prevent any funny business with the hopes of maintaining as much “net neutrality” as possible.

One of the conditions requires Comcast to make its content available to all rival cable and satellite distributors as well as online distributors, and has to offer it’s content for the same price to everyone. They are also required to sell their internet service as a standalone service – this is significant since online distributors (Netflix) gives you the ability to access content without a cable subscription but requires internet service. The FCC is also asking Comcast to relinquish its day-to-day control of their online site HULU, allowing them to maintain an ownership stake but stripping them of any voting rights or the ability to suddenly make content unavailable from the site. (Source: Reuters, January, 18, 2011.)

So before everybody bows down to this newly formed Media behemoth, let’s remember… a lot has changed over the last 13 months since their initial announcement, and the conditions put on the new merger by the FCC (if enforced) will help neutralize any abuses of power. The consumer now has more options with the rise of online providers (Netflix, Google, and Apple TV) and will ultimately choose their services based on the quality of the entertainment, not the amount of channels offered or where the channel falls on the dial.

The pressure now falls squarely on the shoulders of NBC Universal. Without quality content from NBC, Comcast will quickly begin to wonder why they paid all of that money and went through all of the trouble of diversifying their business. The competition is sure to be fierce between cable and online providers; content providers will continue to fight for better licensing agreements for their content and in the end consumers will also have to ask themselves… is it all worth it?

Say Yes To Being A Good Meeting Participant Or Just Say No To Attending

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

What would you do if a colleague was commenting on Facebook instead of paying attention to your presentation? A friend of mine recently faced this dilemma. While her meltdown over the incident was wildly entertaining and worthy of its own Bravo series, she still has unresolved issues with meetings and attendee participation.Checking_Email

The scenario that prompted this post:
My friend, an attorney, was presenting to other partners at her firm about a potential class action case. During her presentation she had the attention of all of the partners except one. This particular partner was in the midst of several pleadings, so my friend presumed the feverish Blackberry activity was related to the partner’s negotiations. Sadly, this was not the case. Upon returning to her office, my friend found that the colleague in question was commenting on Facebook pictures of another associate during the meeting. Her response to the slight was to storm into her colleague’s office and berate her for being rude and inconsiderate. Her colleague then responded that perhaps she would have paid more attention if the presentation was more interesting.


Two alpha females in the heat of battle could only be subdued by the senior partner of the firm. The senior partner offered a resolution of “get over it” and “move on with the important business of your respective case load.”

Unfortunately doing so is often easier said than done. I, like other PR professionals, attend many meeting during the week. And while some of them may not be as amusing as the activity on Facebook, there is still something to be said about respecting our colleagues, never mind the potential of missing some important information, during a meeting.

In an effort to help meeting attendees everywhere, I believe if we all adopt these three rules of courtesy and productivity we can avoid future occurrences of hurt feelings and hostility.

3 meeting rules that promote courtesy and productivity:

  1. Attend only if you will contribute or learn from the meeting
  2. If you MUST respond to an email or phone call during a meeting excuse yourself from the room. (If you do excuse yourself, let someone else in the meeting know how long you anticipate being gone.)
  3. NEVER tweet or post an update to Facebook during a meeting. (Chances are someone is connected to you or following you and will see your indiscretion.)

I admit I’ve tweeted during web meetings and responded to emails that could have waited with no regard for the meeting moderator or other attendees. For this, I apologize. I am committed to changing my ways and will no longer be seduced by the flashing red light of my blackberry or the call of social media during meetings. I hope my BurrellesLuce colleagues will hold my feet to the fire and join me in being courteous and productive.

If we can’t follow these simple rules we need to evaluate why we are attending meetings in the first place. Will any of you take the three rule challenge? Please do, and let us know how it changes your meeting “experience.”

Location, Location, Location!

Friday, February 19th, 2010

Can Foursquare Put Your Client On The Map?
Location based social networks, like Yelp, Foursquare and Gowalla are the talk of the industry. A recent #PR20chat included a discussion on how can PR people use these new social networks to help their clients? I’m focusing on Foursquare because it appeals to the kid in all us, by rewarding us with points and badges for checking-in at locations and sharing information. If you check-in at a location more than anyone else, you become the mayor.

Finding Advocates
Social media lesson one – listen to the conversation and embrace your advocates. By encouraging people to check-in often, you can identify

Flickr Image: thinkpanama

Flickr Image: thinkpanama

your top customers or visitors. Many businesses are offering rewards for becoming the “mayor” of their location. I’m guessing your client would like to find an advocate like Jared Fogle, the Subway spokesperson?

Jon Newman of The Hodges Partnership (a BurrellesLuce client) shared ideas on his blog, Jon’s PR 1.5 for encouraging customers to utilize Foursquare when they visit a business. Encouraging positive buzz about a business helps to bring in customers.

Smart Moves
I recently checked-in at a movie theater, and allowed my status to be posted on Twitter. The theater, who was monitoring for mentions of their name, saw my tweet and re-tweeted it. My tweet validated messages they were trying to exhibit, and expanded the audience beyond my Foursquare friends. I’m wondering if there will be an extra reward when I become the mayor?

Christine Ngo recently interviewed Tristan Walker of Foursquare, on Ogilvy’s Fresh Influence blog. Walker shared how some businesses, like Intel, BART, and the Brooklyn Museum are enhancing users’ experiences with tips about locations and promotional tie-ins.

Partnering with Mainstream Media
Foursquare has recently partnered with several media outlets, like Lucky and Bravo. The magazine or cable TV network rewards users with badges or medals when checking-in at locations related to their content, like fashion week, a film or a TV show. Zagat’s new Meet the Mayor series will highlight Foursquare mayors of featured locations. Wouldn’t you want to read the article about you or your friend?

Granted, Foursquare isn’t for every business, but if you rely on people visiting your business, it might be a great way to encourage more foot traffic. Retail outlets, restaurants, hotels, CVBs and other tourist spots, should not ignore this tool.

Have you checked-out Foursquare or another location based social media? How have you incorporated it into your overall communication plan? We’d love to know if any of our BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas readers is a Foursquare dignitary (Mayor) so please let us know!

A Watershed Moment in the Media World: Comcast- NBC Deal Changes TV Forever

Friday, December 4th, 2009


As a kid I remember hearing the voice-over announcement, that would precede NBC color television shows, “The following is brought to you in Living Color on NBC,” and watching the peacock spread its colorful feathers, thinking wow this is pretty cool. 

This week the first step was taken into a new era of television. When Comcast and General Electric (GE) finalize their deal that will give Comcast a controlling 51 percent stake in NBC Universal (NBCU), it will spawn a media behemoth. As reported in the New York Times, Comcast is agreeing to pay GE $6.5 billion in cash and contribute its own cable channels, such as E! and Style, estimated at $7.25 billion for a total of $13.75 Billion. The new joint venture will be headed up by the current head of NBCU, Jeffrey Zucker.

The significance of this deal lies in the potential derived from combining a TV and movie content creator with a media distributor. Comcast will now offer its extensive customer base to cable channels such as Oxygen and Bravo, NBCU’s movie studio Universal Pictures and the NBC Network.

The integration of Comcast’s internet, mobile phones, and cable with their shiny new toy box filled with NBCU’s extensive library of movies and TV shows is unprecedented.

“In the next five years, more people will be seeing ‘The Tonight Show’ online than on their television sets,” says Paul Levinson, a media analyst at Fordham University in New York. “The convergence will be so extensive that in 10 or 15 years, we won’t be talking television screen versus online because they’ll all be the same screens.”

This deal still has several hurdles ahead; a long regulatory review by the FCC and anti-trust regulators is expected. Several unanswered questions remain, particularly “How does Comcast intend to provide their ‘exclusive’ content to its competitors, like Verizon and Dish Network.

How will this deal affect network TV from a consumer standpoint? Will this mark the beginning of the end of “free TV”? While we wait to see, one thing is certain though: the peacock is once again spreading its wings, only this time it’s to an audience of about 45 million Comcast customers.

Please share your thoughts with the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.