Comcast has become so big and complex that its earnings are almost always mixed — and Q2 was no exception, although the combination of soft revenue growth with strong profits sent shares up 2.1% in pre-market trading. The cable giant reported net income of $2.03B, +16.1% vs the period last year, on revenues of $16.84B, +3.5%. Analysts expected the top line to come in a little higher, at $16.95B. But earnings at 76 cents a share handily beat the consensus forecast of 72 cents.
NBCUniversal also seemed to have a split personality with operating cash flow +20.4% to $1.43B while revenues were +0.3% to $6.02B. The main Cable Networks operation saw sales grow 2.6% to $2.48B with affiliate fees +4.2% while ad sales fell 2.2%. Still, by controlling costs, the unit’s operating cash flow rose 6.3% to $914M. The Broadcast Television unit told a similar story: With rising retransmission consent fees, its revenues increased 4.9% to $1.8B. But ad sales fell 1.7%, which the network partly attributes to having fewer hours of The Voice than it had last year. Still, broadcast operating cash flow increased 16.2% to $240M reflecting, the company says, “a slight increase in operating costs and expenses.” Theme Parks proved to be NBCU’s most consistent performer despite the increased costs for Orlando’s The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter-Diagon Alley attraction which opened this month. Attendance and spending were both up, resulting in a 12.8% increase in revenues to $615M with … Read More »
Talpa Media Group has tapped veteran unscripted producer Jay Bienstock as new CEO for Talpa Media USA. The top position at Talpa Media’s U.S. outpost had been vacant since the departure of CEO Simon Jones last year. Bienstock comes from A. Smith & Co., where he most recently served as Managing Director. At Talpa Media USA, he will oversee the company’s current slate, which includes the Emmy-winning NBC series The Voice and Fox’s upcoming Utopia. Both series were created by John de Mol, owner of Talpa Media Group. “We have been looking for a talented creative executive but also one with the business acumen of Jay to join Talpa and lead our U.S. division,” said de Mol. “We are excited to have Jay on board and look forward to the success we believe Jay will bring us within the Hollywood community.” Read More »
When Nielsen recently wrapped the TV season, it released a set of graphics breaking out the biggest of the big in its new Twitter TV Ratings, in which reality fared well. Among the biggest on the social-media site: the series finale of AMC’s Breaking Bad, AMC’s zombie drama The Walking Dead, the NFL and college football championships, the Oscars etc. Among the season’s Twitter records, however, is winner of Most Tweets and Tweets-Per-Minute: NBC’s The Voice. Viewers sent 1.92 million tweets on May 13, including a record 310,000 at 8:59 PM EST. 1.5 million tweets mentioned #VoiceSave. Here’s the season overview, which includes strong showings overall from ABC’s The Bachelor and Dancing With The Stars:
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While the docureality genre has exploded on cable over the past decade—thanks to Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Duck Dynasty, Pawn Stars, Jersey Shore and the various Real Housewives—the reality competition field has been incredibly stagnant with the same veterans ruling the field year after year. In the 11 years since the category was introduced, only 10 series have been nominated, five as many as seven times. The Amazing Race alone has 11 straight nominations and nine wins.
Since the competition category was expanded from five to six slots in 2011, there has been only one change, when The Voice replaced American Idol on the list of nominees in 2012. The Voice went even further last year when it became only the second show to upset The Amazing Race and win the Emmy. But with the drought in the competition reality genre continuing with no new breakouts in the past year (ABC has high hopes for its summer entry Rising Star), a major shakeup in the roster of nominees is once again unlikely. Here’s how this year’s crop of all-too-familiar contenders stands:
The Age Effect
The first singing show to win a reality competition Emmy, and only the second ever to beat The Amazing Race, The Voice is a relative newcomer. Youth is on its side as, at three years of age, it is at least five years younger than its main competitors. For the first time, it is the show to beat.
The Amazing Race, CBS’ globe-trotting series, has nabbed the Emmy nine out of 11 years, only bested last year by The Voice and in 2010 by Top Chef. It is still a gold standard, and a nomination is all but guaranteed. But it also is the oldest among the top contenders. Would it be able to reclaim its Emmy crown? Read More »
After weeks of rumors and talks, The Voice finally has officially named Gwen Stefani as its new coach for Season 7. Stepping in for a pregnant Christina Aguilera, the multiplatinum No Doubt singer and solo act will join Adam Levine and Blake Shelton, who have been on every season of the NBC singing competition show. Not that Stefani will be sitting in the big red chair for consecutive seasons. Aguilera will be back for Season 8, the network also said today. In the meantime, Stefani will be introduced to Voice viewers with a live performance of her 2004 hit “Hollaback Girl” during the May 5 episode. Her fellow new coach, the previously announced Pharrell Williams, will bow on the show that same night. Here’s the release today from NBC:
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NBC will have two “new” judges for The Voice in the fall as Gwen Stefani is in talks to replace the pregnant Christina Aguilera as a coach for Cycle 7, which starts taping in June. According to informed sources, Stefani also had been in talks for a judge position on ABC’s Rising Star, the interactive singing competition that’s set to premiere June 22. And she has experience on these kinds of shows, having mentored on Fox’s American Idol. The No Doubt singer and fashion icon might have given fans at the Coachella Music & Arts Festival something of a Voice fall preview last week when she joined Pharrell Williams onstage for a take on her 2005 solo hit “Hollaback Girl.” NBC announced last month that Williams will join The Voice next season, replacing CeeLo Green, who had announced his departure in February.
Related: Chris Martin Joins ‘The Voice’ As Show Makes A Format Change
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The hottest songwriter at the moment, Pharrell Williams (and his signature hat) will join NBC’s singing competition The Voice next season. He replaces original coach CeeLo Green who recently announced his departure. NBC is yet to announce whether fellow original Voice coaches Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton and Adam Levine would be back for Season 7. “It’s been a huge year for Pharrell, with recognition for his contribution in the world of music — the ‘Despicable Me’ franchise soundtracks, his Oscar-nominated song Happy and his Grammy-winning collaboration with Daft Punk on the breakout dance hit Get Lucky,” said Paul Telegdy, President, Alternative and Late Night Programming for NBC Entertainment. “His dominance in record sales in 2014, coupled with his incomparable accomplishments in the world of fashion and design, make him an irresistible addition to The Voice family,” said Paul Telegdy. Singer-songwriter-producer Pharrell was previously an advisor to team Usher on season four of The Voice. He performed the hit single Blurred Lines with Robin Thicke last May on The Voice. Pharrell is the lead vocalist and drummer for the band N.E.R.D. and is a partner in the record production duo the Neptunes.