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Comcast Streams ESPN (Almost) Everywhere

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.)

  • Charter Communications Inc. 's dedication to expanding its video business under new CEO Tom Rutledge paid off in the first quarter with the addition of 20,000 residential video customers, beating the 17,000 subscriber losses expected by analysts. Charter was similarly strong elsewhere, pulling in 141,000 high-speed Internet subs, and 31,000 VoIP customers, beating expected additions of 102,000 and 26,000. But that wasn't enough to avoid a quarterly net loss of $94 million on revenues of $1.82 billion. (See Ex-Cablevision COO Becomes Charter CEO.)

  • 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.

  • Sigma Designs Inc. (Nasdaq: SIGM) has sealed up its $21 million acquisition of troubled Trident Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: TRID)'s digital TV chip business. Trident has alredy sold off its set-top silicon assets to Entropic Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: ENTR) for $65 million. (See Sigma Bids $21M for Trident's DTV Scraps and Entropic Sweetens Pot to Win Trident .)

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable



  • craigleddy 12/5/2012 | 5:33:47 PM
    re: Comcast Streams ESPN (Almost) Everywhere

    Do you know if Comcast's ESPN TV Everywhere rollout allows for out-of-home viewing too? I recall the Comcast-Turner deal announcement was a bit vague on that point, indicating that out-of-home would be handled on a case-by-case basis. Not sure how they'd restrict this to only in-home though.   

    Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:33:46 PM
    re: Comcast Streams ESPN (Almost) Everywhere

    The rights they negotiated, like Comcast's new Turner deal, factors in out-of-home access. Fired it up on my laptop at home and seems to be working.. haven't tried on the iPad , but I'll have to give that a shot the next time i'm on the go and need my sports fix. JB


     

    craigleddy 12/5/2012 | 5:33:46 PM
    re: Comcast Streams ESPN (Almost) Everywhere

    That's a big accomplishment, from a programming rights standpoint, since ESPN has to deal with all those pesky sports leagues. I wonder how they'll handle blackout restrictions. 

    Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:33:46 PM
    re: Comcast Streams ESPN (Almost) Everywhere

    I'm not sure how they'll accomplish the blackout issue... but during what was apparently a local ad break the app just put up a digital placard telling me to stand by while the commercial played out.   By way of example, the MLB.tv app knows your location so it blacks you out if you try to stream a local baseball game that's being shown on regular TV, so I suppose ESPN could do something similar. JB

    kaps 12/5/2012 | 5:33:43 PM
    re: Comcast Streams ESPN (Almost) Everywhere

    ESPN doesn't have many blackout restrictions since the baseball games it broadcasts are generally "national" games (like Sunday night) and its football games are the same thing (Monday Night Football). So basically anything you could see on an ESPN channel via your home cable, you can see via WatchESPN if you can authenticate your cable subscription.

    kaps 12/5/2012 | 5:33:43 PM
    re: Comcast Streams ESPN (Almost) Everywhere

    ESPN doesn't have many blackout restrictions since the baseball games it broadcasts are generally "national" games (like Sunday night) and its football games are the same thing (Monday Night Football). So basically anything you could see on an ESPN channel via your home cable, you can see via WatchESPN if you can authenticate your cable subscription.

    Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:33:42 PM
    re: Comcast Streams ESPN (Almost) Everywhere

    Yeah, good point. They won't have nearly as many blackout issues to worry about, save for the rare time the local NFL game doesn't sell out and ESPN happens to be carrying it nationtionally (but does that really happen much anymore? Denver always sells out their games so this hasn't ever been an issue for me).


     Or, at the other extreme, you could someday see  a retrans dispute between Disney and an MSO that gets nasty enough that the signals get pulled.. .they'd also end up yanking back access to WatchESPN, so they'd not blackout just a game, but the whole smash. In those cases, I imagine it woudl not be hard to set the sytem to reject customers who are subject to the retrans dispute when they tried to log on. JB


     


     

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