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BUSINESS
July 10, 2013 | By Bob Fernandez, Inquirer Staff Writer
Two unpaid interns at Comcast Corp.-owned NBCUniversal, one with Saturday Night Live and the other at the MSNBC cable-news channel, have filed a federal class-action lawsuit seeking at least $5 million. The case is the latest unpaid-intern suit in the U.S. entertainment industry, in which top executives earn tens of millions of dollars a year, and follows a recent court decision favorable to unpaid or underpaid interns. U.S. Judge William H. Pauley 3d in New York said on June 11 that two unpaid interns at Fox Searchlight Pictures Inc. were employees and covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act, while also granting class-action status to unpaid interns at Fox. Pauley said that the two Fox Searchlight interns displaced paid employees and "received nothing approximating the education they would receive in an academic setting or vocational school" - the requirement to being classified as interns at a for-profit company.
BUSINESS
July 4, 2013
Comcast Corp.-owned NBCUniversal acquired the Telemundo affiliate in Philadelphia, WWSI (Channel 49), from ZGS Communications for an undisclosed sum. The Spanish-language affiliate now will be part by the NBCUniversal's 16-station Telemundo Station Group. Manuel Abud, group president, said the station, now based near Penn's Landing with 11 employees, will relocate to NBC10 studios in Bala Cynwyd. The Telemundo affiliate will launch local news casts at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. in January to grow its audience.
BUSINESS
October 6, 2013 | By Bob Fernandez, Inquirer Staff Writer
The head of the Comcast Corp.-owned Telemundo network, Emilio Romano, is leaving the company in the latest shuffle of NBCUniversal executives. Telemundo is a distant second in the fast-growing Spanish-language TV market, with a goal of closing the gap with top-watched Univision. NBCUniversal's Hispanic Enterprise and Content Group, which includes Telemundo, is now run by former Univision executive Joseph Uva. He reports to Steve Burke, the chief executive officer at NBCUniversal.
BUSINESS
February 19, 2016 | By Bob Fernandez, Staff Writer
As Comcast Corp.'s CFO, Michael Angelakis negotiated the deal that brought entertainment conglomerate NBCUniversal to the Philadelphia cable giant in 2011 for $30 billion. He soon followed that with a hugely successful bet expanding Universal's theme parks, further diversifying Comcast away from cable. Now Angelakis is going out on his own, with $4 billion in Comcast money, creating an independent investment fund, incorporated as "Atairos," that could produce returns or diversified properties for Comcast.
NEWS
April 30, 2016 | By Bob Fernandez, Staff Writer
Captain Underpants is joining Comcast. The nation's cable giant agreed to acquire the money-losing studio DreamWorks Animation SKG for $3.8 billion, or $41 a share - a 51 percent premium to DreamWorks' closing share price on Tuesday, before news leaked of the deal. The multibillion-dollar deal for the studio that created the hugely popular Shrek franchise and the animated feature Captain Underpants bolsters Comcast's NBCUniversal unit and deepens its offerings in family entertainment.
BUSINESS
September 12, 2013 | By Bob Fernandez, Inquirer Staff Writer
Jeff Shell, a former Comcast Corp. programming executive in Philadelphia, will head the Universal film studio as Steve Burke and Comcast Corp. tighten their grip on Hollywood. Shell is the latest top executive installed by Burke, the CEO of NBCUniversal and a confidant of Comcast chief executive Brian Roberts. Shell headed entertainment programming at Comcast before the cable giant acquired NBCUniversal. He trotted the globe developing deals for NBCUniversal over the last two years, a position many inside Comcast viewed as tailored to give him exposure and retain him for a more glamorous job. He had been based in London.
BUSINESS
August 6, 2015 | By Bob Fernandez, Inquirer Staff Writer
Responding to criticism that its discounted Internet Essentials service was available only to poor families with school-age children, Comcast Corp. said Tuesday that it would expand the $9.95-a-month program to low-income senior citizens. Comcast will begin the project for senior citizens in Palm Beach County, Fla., and expand it to other markets throughout the United States through the fall, said David Cohen, executive vice president at Comcast. The date of expansion into the Philadelphia area will be determined by the success in pilot markets, Comcast said.
BUSINESS
September 1, 2015 | By Bob Fernandez, Inquirer Staff Writer
Mike Cavanagh, one of the nation's top banking executives at JPMorgan Chase and now Comcast Corp.'s new chief financial officer, says the Philadelphia company's biggest "enemy" is complacency, hoping that consumer trends won't change and that Comcast remains the big cable company. Comcast's destiny is "in our hands," Cavanagh said at the Comcast Center last week. He added, "All businesses have to modify their game to be relevant to millennials. " A protege of the legendary banker Jamie Dimon at JPMorgan, Cavanagh joined Comcast in May after Comcast lost its publicly deflating regulatory battle for Time Warner Cable Inc. He replaces the transformative CFO Michael Angelakis, who negotiated the successful deal for NBCUniversal and the abandoned takeover of Time Warner Cable.
BUSINESS
January 13, 2016 | By Bob Fernandez, Staff Writer
With on-demand streamers Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu capturing large audiences for general-interest entertainment, Comcast-owned NBCUniversal has ripped a page from cable's playbook with the niche comedy channel Seeso.com. NBCUniversal says its model of a specialized online channel with Seeso is like cable networks that cater to sports or music fans. If Seeso works, NBCUniversal expects to launch other pay-per-month streamed genre channels. "The consumer is telling us that this is a no-brainer," Evan Shapiro, NBCUniversal's executive vice president of digital enterprise, said Monday of Seeso, which he said he considered supplementary entertainment to Netflix as a "comedy channel for comedy nerds.
NEWS
July 11, 2012 | By Bob Fernandez, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Comcast Corp. said Tuesday that it sold its 15.8 percent stake in A&E Television Networks L.L.C. for $3.025 billion in cash. The purchaser was A&E and enables Walt Disney Co. and Hearst Corp. to share 50-50 ownership in the TV programmer, whose hit shows include Pawn Stars, Storage Wars and American Pickers . Comcast acquired its stake in A&E through NBCUniversal, which it controls in a joint venture with General Electric. The $3 billion will remain with NBCUniversal, which can use it for business purposes.
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NEWS
April 30, 2016 | By Bob Fernandez, Staff Writer
Captain Underpants is joining Comcast. The nation's cable giant agreed to acquire the money-losing studio DreamWorks Animation SKG for $3.8 billion, or $41 a share - a 51 percent premium to DreamWorks' closing share price on Tuesday, before news leaked of the deal. The multibillion-dollar deal for the studio that created the hugely popular Shrek franchise and the animated feature Captain Underpants bolsters Comcast's NBCUniversal unit and deepens its offerings in family entertainment.
BUSINESS
April 28, 2016 | By Bob Fernandez, Staff Writer
Comcast Corp. is in talks to acquire DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc., which produced the "Shrek" and "Kung Fu Panda" franchises, for more than $3 billion, according to published reports late Tuesday. A deal would boost the Comcast-owned Universal Studios, which had a banner year in 2015 with multiple billion-dollar movie blockbusters, and add to Comcast's stable of content companies. The Philadelphia company acquired the NBCUniversal entertainment and news conglomerate in 2011. The Universal movie studio has been a surprising success of the NBCUniversal deal and now is led by former Comcast executive Jeff Shell.
BUSINESS
February 24, 2016 | By Bob Fernandez, Staff Writer
Now that Comcast Corp. owns Rotten Tomatoes, can the website's reviews be trusted for Comcast-owned films produced and distributed by Universal Pictures? Paul Yanover, head of the Comcast-owned Fandango online movie-ticket buying service, says the answer is yes. Rotten Tomatoes and its critic-rating "Tomatometer" will retain editorial independence from the profit-rich Universal. Comcast acquired the studio as part of its deal for NBCUniversal in 2011. Fandango, which Comcast has owned since 2007, recently announced that it had bought Rotten Tomatoes and Flixster from Time Warner Inc. Terms were not disclosed.
BUSINESS
February 19, 2016 | By Bob Fernandez, Staff Writer
As Comcast Corp.'s CFO, Michael Angelakis negotiated the deal that brought entertainment conglomerate NBCUniversal to the Philadelphia cable giant in 2011 for $30 billion. He soon followed that with a hugely successful bet expanding Universal's theme parks, further diversifying Comcast away from cable. Now Angelakis is going out on his own, with $4 billion in Comcast money, creating an independent investment fund, incorporated as "Atairos," that could produce returns or diversified properties for Comcast.
BUSINESS
January 13, 2016 | By Bob Fernandez, Staff Writer
With on-demand streamers Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu capturing large audiences for general-interest entertainment, Comcast-owned NBCUniversal has ripped a page from cable's playbook with the niche comedy channel Seeso.com. NBCUniversal says its model of a specialized online channel with Seeso is like cable networks that cater to sports or music fans. If Seeso works, NBCUniversal expects to launch other pay-per-month streamed genre channels. "The consumer is telling us that this is a no-brainer," Evan Shapiro, NBCUniversal's executive vice president of digital enterprise, said Monday of Seeso, which he said he considered supplementary entertainment to Netflix as a "comedy channel for comedy nerds.
BUSINESS
December 28, 2015 | By Bob Fernandez, Staff Writer
Cesar Conde, the head of Comcast-owned Telemundo network, peppers his conversation with references to popular American cable shows Homeland and Breaking Bad , and says it feels like a new era in Spanish-language TV. There is, Conde said, "a tectonic shift taking place in Hispanic media. " And Philadelphia's Comcast - which acquired the also-ran Telemundo network as part of its $30 billion deal for NBCUniversal in 2011 - is aiming to be a big part of it. The nation's cable giant, with tentacles all over the media landscape, is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to take on the No. 1 Spanish-language network, Univision, by developing faster-paced Americanized dramas, locking up the TV rights to World Cup Soccer into the 2020s, and launching live local newscasts in big TV markets, such as Philadelphia.
BUSINESS
December 22, 2015
In the Region Spark stock sales raise $88.4M Philadelphia-based Spark Therapeutics , which hopes to make money from gene therapy treatments for rare diseases, said it has raised $88.4 million by selling two million shares of stock. Spark was spun out of the nonprofit Children's Hospital of Philadelphia , which joined in last week's sale by selling one million shares, worth $44.2 million. The hospital, through its foundation, remains the largest stockholder. Spark's most-advanced compound, SPK-RPE65, is new genetic material injected into the eye to treat rare blinding conditions.
NEWS
December 9, 2015 | By Bob Fernandez, Inquirer Staff Writer
Comcast Ventures, the venture arm of Comcast Corp., has taken an investment stake in its third virtual reality company, Baobab Studios, and intends to put money into others. A Comcast Ventures executive compared virtual reality to the "early days of mobile" and said that it could make viewing sports or movies a more immersive experience, which could benefit Comcast Corp., the nation's largest cable company and owner of NBCUniversal. Wired magazine recently reported that film studios have been experimenting with virtual reality, while Facebook, Google, Samsung and Sony are developing virtual reality headsets.
BUSINESS
September 27, 2015 | By Bob Fernandez, Inquirer Staff Writer
Unionized cameramen and technicians picketed NBC10's offices in Bala Cynwyd on the eve of one of this year's biggest TV events in Philadelphia - Pope Francis' weekend visit. An NBCUniversal official said early Friday evening that the media company was talking with the union. If the labor dispute is not resolved, NBC10 intends to use footage from other NBC stations or freelancers in Philadelphia covering Pope Francis, she said. Frank Keel, a spokesman for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98, which represents the NBC10 employees, said he was unaware of Friday bargaining between the union and NBCUniversal, describing the situation as "status quo. " There are about 65 striking employees.
BUSINESS
September 14, 2015 | By Bob Fernandez, Inquirer Staff Writer
Dennis Griffin was talking tee times. Some afternoons, he can slip away for a quick 18 holes. "The sweet spot in Brigantine for me is around 1 in the afternoon, when you have a 60 percent savings," the long-term-care insurance salesman said. At his Little Egg Harbor home, Griffin, 60, logged on to the website for Comcast Corp.-owned GolfNow and browsed tee times for that day at Brigantine Golf Links, about 40 minutes away. He read off the possibilities: a 2 o'clock for $46.48; a slot at 1:52 for $35.98.
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