The purpose of this report is to dissect and learn about the strategies, management team, external environment and industry analysis that Comcast has put in place to become a booming and profitable corporation. Comcast, which is headquartered in Philadelphia and is a well-liked service provider for television, phone, and internet, has been around for many years with a positive reputation. Comcast is known for using the acquisition entry strategy by purchasing numerous TV networks, such as NBC Universal, and the cable company, Time Warner Cable.
Why did you choose this company?
As a group, we decided to do Comcast for a variety of reasons. One being that the television, internet, and phone service provider is popular in the Hampton Roads area. It’s competitor for television and Internet service is Verizon. As a Fortune 50 leader, Comcast sets the pace in a variety of innovative and fascinating businesses and create career opportunities across a wide range of locations and disciplines.
What Comcast does?
Comcast is the largest cable and home Internet service provider in the United States and is ranked third for the largest telephone service provider. Comcast provides services for residents and commercial offices in 40 states and the District of Columbia. Additional, Comcast is a producer of film and television contents, operates cable channels including E! Entertainment Television, the Golf Channel, and national channels such as Telemundo.
In February 2014, the company agreed to merge with Time Warner Cable in an equity swap deal worth $45.2 billion.
Where/When it was established?
In 1963, Comcast was found in 1963 (previously known as American Cable Systems) and is currently headquartered in Philadelphia, PA. Comcast has come a long way since its beginnings as a single-system cable operator in Tupelo, Mississippi in 1963. Today, Comcast is a leader in the worlds of media, entertainment and technology and our story has unfolded due to an entrepreneurial spirit that is the foundation of everything we do.
Comcast has many goals, but since 1963, Comcast continues to fulfill Ralph Roberts’ goal of building an organization with a close-knit, family feel. Comcast’s strategic objective is to gain long-term market share and dominance. The company is striving to become the most desired high-volume and low-cost service provider in the market
Company Mission Statement
“Comcast brings together the best in media and technology. We drive innovation to create the world’s best entertainment and online experiences.”
(Comcast) Company Vision & Values
In Comcast’s Corporate Social Responsibility Report, the company has a range of different values that the company as a whole would like to uphold. These values would be: Connect media, technology, and people
Create media that matters
Reduce environmental impact
Deepening trust through stewardship
Develop and engage employees
Promote diversity and inclusion
Bring the best out of people
Number of Retail Units
Although there is not an exact number for retail units throughout the United States, there is information about the number of customers for television, internet and phone services provider for residential and commercial. As of December 31, 2013, there are a total of 53.8 million customers receiving service from Comcast. Television service is provided to 21.7 million customers, high-speed Internet is provided to 20.7 million customers and phone service is provided to 10.7 million customers. Majority of these customers can be found in Maryland, New York, Massachusetts and Miami.
Number of Employees
Comcast has nearly 130,000 employees that help make the company successful. Comcast employees pride themselves with ingenuity and passion with everything that they do. The employees provide excellent service and have ideas for innovative products to create insightful and entertaining content. Comcast tries to create an attractive work environment and rewards their employees because of their dedication. Employees are rewarded with competitive pay, benefits, professional training and opportunities to build exceptional leadership skills Revenue
Comcast is the largest mass media and communications company in the world in revenue. As of March 31, 2014, according to Yahoo! Finance, Comcast has earned $17.4 million revenue, which is a $1.5 million increase since December 31, 2013. Net Income
Comcast’s net income last record on March 31, 2014 by Yahoo! Finance is $1.8 billion, which is a decrease since December 31, 2013. In December it was recorded that the net income of the popular service provider was $1.9 billion. According to ycharts.com, the net income (quarterly) range from $866 million being the minimum income in March 2010 to $2.113 billion being the maximum in September 2012. (See Fig NI for a line chart of net income since 2010)
Number of Shareholders
There are a total of 539,000 shareholders that hold a share in the company in either a direct or indirect form of share. Direct shareholder is if you hold a physical stock certificate, while an indirect shareholder is if you hold your stock through a broker.
Top Management Team
In today’s workforce, diversity is extremely important to equal opportunity employment. Women make up about 40% of the American workforce. Comcast believes in cultivating an inclusive and diverse workforce in an effort to leverage perspectives and remain on the cutting edge of innovation. Comcast believes strongly in diversity and the total team concept. According to the Comcast website (2014) Women roughly occupy eight positions on the top management team at Comcast. These women are known as “the women of Comcast and NBCUniversal”.
D’Arcy F. Rudnay is the Chief Communications Officer for the Comcast Corporation. According to the website for corporate Comcast (2014) Rudnay serves as the communications counsel to the Chairman and CEO as well as other members of the executive branch. She leads the management of the company’s brand, reputation and strategic communications activities across the Comcast organization. Rudnay has years of experience in both the public and private sector. Before joining Comcast, Rudnay worked at the Lincoln Financial Group where she served as Vice President of Corporate Communications and Media Relations. She also served as Vice President of Lincoln Financial Group Foundation. Rudnay has a long list of awards to her credit to include induction into the Public Relations Hall of Fame as one of the Nation’s top 25 communications executives. Her experience and skills has been a valuable addition to Comcast team.
Amy Banse serves as the Managing Director and Head of Funds for Comcast Ventures. Banse has critical role in strategic planning for funds throughout the Comcast spectrum. According to the website for corporate Comcast (2014) Banse has accumulated over 20 years of experience in investing at Comcast. She began her career at Comcast in 1991 as an attorney responsible for investing, starting and building companies throughout Comcast. Banse became a central figure in the development of the TV Everywhere strategy. She founded Comcast Interactive Media and led the charge in overseeing multiple acquisitions to include Xfinity.com, Xfinitytv.com, and Fancast. These acquisitions led to the development of the TV Everywhere strategy.
The experiences of Rudnay and Banse have been vital to the success of Comcast. Any organization that resembles Comcast must have some form of legal counsel who is responsible for the companies’ legalities and business ventures. Business ventures are critically important to growing and expanding the businesses to the Comcast level. Banse is an experienced team lead who is responsible for founding the Comcast Interactive Media. This venture led to the development of the TV Everywhere strategy. Her experience and expertise keeps the company moving forward and leading the charge in the digital age. Rudnay brings a wealth of experience from the communications side of the business. Rudnay has been elected to the Public Relations Hall of Fame for her diligent efforts. Together Rudnay and Banse provide the necessary tools and experience to keep Comcast at the tip of the spear in the digital world.
My impression of the top management team is two-fold. Women are well represented at the executive levels holding eight offices spanning from chairman to vice president. The positions held by these women represent a breakthrough for women as minorities. On the other hand, minority women such as African Americans and Hispanics were not represented. However the door to diversity remains open for minority women. In my opinion, the cast of executive women may be too small given the size and scope of the Comcast Company.
According to the website for Comcast Executive Biographies (2014) Brian L. Roberts serves as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Comcast corporation. Roberts took the helm as President of Comcast Corporation in 1990. Under his leadership at Comcast, the company’s annual revenue has grown to over $64 billion Comcast has grown into a global Fortune 50 corporation under the leadership of Roberts. Roberts has numerous awards for his leadership and recognized by Fortune magazine as a “Business Person of the Year.” Duality does exist for Roberts who has served as chairman for three consecutive terms.
Board of Directors
The Board of Directors is a diversified group of professions. The Board of Directors is represented by a diverse group of men and women. The Comcast Board of Directors is comprised of 61 professionals and out of the compliment of 61 personnel, 16 are professional women. This group of professional women is represented by minority women as well. The Comcast Corporation has many moving parts. Considering the size and scope of the Comcast Corporation, in my opinion, the 61 members who make-up the Board of Directors, is the right number of personnel to oversee each aspect of the Comcast corporation.
Most small businesses and large corporations have an obligation to shareholders to disclose what they do with the profits and how they obtain their profits. It is also a means to manage the corporations’ impact on the economy, society, and the environment. Comcast has a corporate social responsibility aimed at giving back and supporting the communities they serve. According to the website for Comcast (2014) the Comcast Corporation seeks to empower local partners with the required resources to improve neighborhoods and create opportunities to change lives. Comcast also provides resources and funding for local supporting nonprofit organizations.
Comcast hosts annual events to support different groups and organizations within the community. Comcast Career Day is an annual event that focuses on community service. The goal of Comcast Career Day is to send a goodwill message from the Comcast’s employees, families, and friends and to leave an indelible mark on the communities they serve. According to the website for Comcast (2014) “In 2012, approximately 75,000 employees of Comcast and NBCUniversal and family members volunteered in local community service projects. This effort spanned across 665 different locations logging more than 454,000 labor hours and awarded more than $1.5 million in Comcast Foundation matching grants in 2012”.
In a continued effort of corporation social responsibility, Comcast also supports and works with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. The website for Comcast (2014) reports Comcast partnered with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America to connect Comcast employees with students in need. Comcast launched a program called Beyond School Walls. This program paired local student’s up with Comcast employees to serve as mentors. The Beyond School Walls program reported greater work satisfaction and the students showed improved grades which encouraged an expansion of the program. In recognition of Comcast’s support of the Big Brother Big Sister of America program, Comcast was honored with its President’s Award. Comcast: Business Level Strategy
Comcast has been making significant investments to enhance their products, while improving the service and support being delivered to consumers. Comcast’s strategy is to mainly focus on providing consumers with the best and most content across all available platforms. Comcast’s vision is to give customers more content choices – all of which are available to consumers at the click of the remote, without having to buy any additional equipment.
One huge business level strategy that Comcast has implemented is a new brand. In 2010, Comcast began promoting “Xfinity”, the company’s rebranding trademark for the services provided. With this brand, Comcast is looking to improve customer perception and reputation with this new brand. Comcast’s networks and products now offer 100+ HD channels, 50 to 70 foreign language channels, incredibly fast Internet speeds and thousands of TV shows and movies online for a variety of customers of all ages to enjoy whenever and wherever they would like.
With the “Xfinity” brand in full effect, “Xfinity Signature Support” is a new service for personal computers, home networking equipment and many other devices that customers connect to Comcast services 24/7. With Signature Support, Comcast customers have access to knowledgeable and experienced IT professionals who can provide support, troubleshooting and online technical support, either over the phone or in the home.
This type of assistances is available either as part of a monthly subscription plan or for a stand-alone basis for those one-time fixes, such as virus removal or connecting printers or game consoles wirelessly. Customers are given the opportunity to choose an equipment protection plan that provides extended warranties for computers and televisions. Comcast will not have to change its strategy to continue to operate after the merger with Time Warner Cable. Comcast uses a focused differentiation strategy, since the company looks for innovations that television, high-speed internet and phone service subscribers will be interested in using.
In regards to demographics, the cable industries top 10 competing TV subscriptions are Netflix, Comcast, Direct TV, Dish, The Warner Cable, Hulu, AT & T, Verizon Fios, Charter and Cox. Video subscriber Netflix is the leading company with 36.2 million subscribers. Within the cable industry the subscribers between the ages of forty and sixty purchase the most subscriptions. As a result, certain channels are included on these cable networks in order to appeal to subscribers that purchase most of their service. Along with the aging population, many different nationalities & ethnicities make up the demographic market. Therefore within the cable industry, different channels are included in order to provide entertainment services to viewers of all cultural backgrounds.
For instance, Comcast offers American Spanish language television and Telemundo in order to make their company more marketable to different cultures in the cable industry environment. Telecommunications and the development of broadband internet services are the rising affluence within the cable industry. Telecommunications have become very popular within the industry serving 26 million customers (NCTA, 1). Broadband Internet services within the industry make up five of the top ten residential phone companies in the country servicing 50 million customers (NCTA, 1).
From a socio cultural standpoint, society places a lot of emphasis on a diverse non-discriminating work environment where women and men are treated equally. Within the cable industry there has been emphasis on women employment due to pre-recession levels. However, Comcast is working with these socio cultural expectations by creating a diversified non-discriminating workforce for women with interest pertaining to their cable industry by hiring more women to be a part of their team. Along, with hiring women within the cable industry the pressure to accommodate older worker plays a major role in the socio cultural environment.
According to the government data, “40 percent of workers older than 55 were in the workforce as of February 2012 up from just 29 percent in 1993. The number is expected to increase to 43.5 percent by 2018. This trend reflects the need for many older workers either to stay in or rejoin the workforce to beef up their retirement income by temping” (Greenberg 1). Temping plays a major role in society because it opens up the option for older men and women to work. However, the cable industry accommodates these workers by offering part-time positions and retirement plans with good pay. Comcast helps to accommodate older workers by providing retirement plans, salaries, and bonuses.
The cable industry delivers through broadband providing service to over 50 million customers as of year ending 2012(NCTA 2). Some trends that consumers are looking for in cable companies are fast broadband speeds and standard cable broadband speeds ranging from 10 mps to 20 mps. Comcast is keeping up with this trend by creating innovative services in their technologies including online streaming of their cable channels and faster Internet services (Comcast 1). In regards to global, poverty can increase the amount of viewers that purchase TV subscriptions since; this can be used as an alternative to going to the movie theaters or purchasing movies. Also, poverty can decrease the amount of viewers that purchase TV subscriptions due to their lack of income.
There are a lot of factors that contribute to the economics of cable networks. The pay TV ecosystem in the United States has set the platform of growth for cable networks. In today’s society approximately 100 million US homes and business pay an average of $68 per month to a cable or satellite operator for 19 channels of video programming (Grimes 1). “They pay TV providers, in turn; pay some $20 per subscriber per month to the cable networks in carriage fees that aggregate to roughly $24 billion per year. Add U.S. advertising sales of $25 billion in 2011, another billion or so for the sale of content to alternate distribution outlets and a $50 billion annual revenue industry with 40+% cash flow margins comes into focus. And that excludes the contribution from international networks that is especially significant for ESPN, CNN, MTV and the Discovery network”(Grimes, 2). Therefore, it is evident that cable networks make a lot of profit in today’s economy as a result of subscribers.
In the economy, more people are willing to pay a subscription for a small monthly fee and as a result this has fueled new growth in their revenues as an industry. The good news for cable networks is that advertising sales trends remain strong on a demand and cost per thousand (CPM) basis such that the industry’s ad revenue growth rate of 11%(Grimes 3). This just continues to add to the revenue of cable networks as a whole to continue to make their industry worth more profit. Events such as the London Olympics and U.S elections contributed a lot to their exceeding revenues. Along with cable networks with international broadcast, has increased the growth rates of non-U.S business which is the first time in years that this has exceeded domestic business.
The less good news is that while cable and satellite carriage fees are expected to rise at the healthy, but lower, rate of 7% this year on a per-subscriber basis, the days of U.S. pay TV subscriber growth are over, probably forever (Grimes 4). The year 2012 will be the first years in 33-year history of pay TV in the U.S. As a result subscribers will decline from the previous year. Younger people are paying for TV at lower rates than people of older generations. The downward slope of TV subscriptions will begin, however investors will be forced to think about a world in which cable networks are finally maturing assets (Grimes 5).
When looking at the Industry Environment of Comcast, The Five Forces of Competition Model, created by Michael Porter, can break it down.
Rivalry among competing firms
When looking at the different products and services that Comcast offers, their competitors come from several different markets. For their most known service as cable television provider, Comcast is the top cable provider, having a reported 21,690,000 subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2013, which is sustainably more than the rest of the top 10 cable providers in the United States. The most known competitors in this market include Times Warner Cable, AT&T U-verse, and Verizon FIOS, all of which having 10,493,000 less subscribers in the country or more, making the current competition level in this area a low threat. With same companies as competitors in cable Internet services, AT&T is their highest competitor. Both companies with recorded 17 million customers and AT&T offer slightly better services compared to their prices.
Even though this is the case, customers still have resided with Comcast, as they are known as the largest Internet cable provider as well. After gaining ownership of NBCUniversal, Comcast also has competition in the area of major film studios. NBCUniversal is the third largest film studio behind Warner Bros Entertainment, which is owned by their new business partner, Times Warner Cable, and The Walt Disney Studios. Respectively the firm’s own 17.1%, 15.9%, and 13.9% of the U.S. and Canadian market share in 2013, and have been in similar position since 2005. As Comcast begins to develop new online streaming services of its cable channels and other networking systems, it will meet other competitors as well.
Threat of new entrants
Because of the amount of time that is spent behind entering and becoming a competitor in these industries, and the fact that Comcast is the leader of them as well, the threat of new entrants that would affect the firm’s market share is very low. The difficulty behind making a successful worldwide cable provider is a high level barrier to entry and the current cable providers have been in existence for decades. Comcast’s threat of new entrants would not occur unless a firm was created that provided more innovating technology at a greater and widespread form.
Threat of Substitute Products
Due to the fact that new technology is being created constantly, Comcast has met new threats of substitutes in the recent years. Firms like Netflix and Hulu, which offer customers on-demand Internet streaming media, usually shows and movies that are offered on their cable channels, for low monthly rates, are substitutes that have been encountered within the past decade. This has lead to some consumers to use this service rather than paying heftier cable bills every month. This substitute threat is the reason why they are currently producing their own online streaming of their cable channels to compete with these companies, which is predicted to launch later this year.
Bargaining Power of Suppliers
Because Comcast is always searching for innovating technology and software to provide their customers with new services; Information technology suppliers have high bargaining power against the firm. These suppliers understand that they are necessary for Comcast to continue success so they will always be at high demand, and able to charge a heavy amount as well.
Bargaining Power of Buyers
Because there is a limited amount of communication and cable companies in the United States, the bargaining power of buyers of Comcast’s services are limited. At the same time, in order to compete with their competition in the industry, they also have to make sure that the services and the prices of those services are at levels that their customers are willing to pay. If customers believe they are not reasonable, they will convert to another firm’s cable services. So, by voicing their opinion on Comcast’s services, customers are able to bargain for what they want from the firm.
The long term sustainability for Comcast will be based on their ability to streamline movies and sitcoms. This will allow them to maintain their market share from competitors like Netflix, Hulu TV, Livestream and other startup companies. In order for Comcast to attain long-term sustainability, the company will have to improve the reputation that they have when it comes to their customer service. Comcast has the lowest customer-service rating of any Internet service provider. (Berr, 2014)
Comcast customers are not happy with the type of service they receive and that affects the company if they would like to have a future in the television, internet, and phone service industry. Although Comcast has stated that a goal of the company is to improve the customer service, the company is just not there yet. Improving the customer service will help the company tremendously for the present and for the future.
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