Big news from the TV Everywhere front kicks off today's cable news snapshot.
Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) has opened access to WatchESPN, the TV Everywhere platform from the sports programming giant that provides access to linear streams of ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3 and ESPNU to the MSO's digital video subscribers. Comcast will initially offer access to approved subscribers on iOS devices and the WatchESPN.com site. The MSO expects to extend access "soon" at XfinityTV.com and on Android devices in the coming months. As with the new multi-year carriage deal struck between the MSO and Disney in January, Comast will also get TV Everywhere access to Disney Channel, DisneyXD and Disney Junior later this year. With Comcast on board, WatchESPN is available to about 40 million subscribers thanks to distribution deals with other major service providers such as Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) and Bright House Networks . (See Comcast Scores Disney Distribution.)
DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV) added 81,000 new video subs, down from year-ago adds of 184,000 and fewer than the 92,000 that analysts were expecting. But the satellite firm hit its financial targets, posting net income of $731 million ($1.07 per share) on revenues of $7.05 billion, up 12 percent.
In a move that seemingly takes a page from the HBO playbook ("It's not TV. It's HBO"), the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) has launched a new awareness campaign with the tagline: "It's more than TV. It's how we connect." The message hits on cable's broadband platform and the industry's new TV Everywhere efforts. The bulk of the campaign will center on Washington, D.C., though some spots and ads will run nationally.