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brand strategy

Comcast Hones In on Universal Theme Parks as Point of Significant Expansion

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 10, 2014 04:43 PM

Comcast has set the TV world aflame in the last few years with its purchase of NBCUniversal and its yet-to-be-finalized deal to acquire Time Warner Cable. But there’s another industry that Comcast is looking to be a serious player in as well: theme parks.

Comcast, which already had $2.2 billion in revenue last year from its theme parks and resorts unit, isn’t shying away from horning in on the territory long dominated by Disney, either. The company's Universal Studios is “investing hundreds of millions of dollars into theme parks in California and Florida.” While it is investing in new attractions for its Universal Orlando Resorts, it also building “the largest hotel construction project in North America: [an] 1,800-room, 1960s-themed Cabana Bay Beach Resort,” of which Comcast is sharing the bill with Loews Corp., the Philadephia Inquirer reports

Six hundred of the rooms will open this month, with the rest scheduled to open by year's end. With that, Universal will have 4,200 rooms, a 75 percent increase from the 2,400 it previously boasted, but NBCUniversal chief Steve Burke says the complex could have between 10,000 and 15,000 hotel rooms in time.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Facebook, Taco Bell, Target and more

Posted by Dale Buss on March 6, 2014 09:25 AM

In the News

Facebook cracks down on illegal-gun posts.

Taco Bell and Kraft expand grocery deal with new items.

Target CIO and VP of technology services resigns in wake of data breach debacle. 

Walmart plans to unveil "tethering" strategy soon as pressure mounts to reject genetically-modified salmon. 

Apple sees judge deny request to ban Samsung products as it plans to bring full-screen video iAds to mobile. 

BP finds way to bypass US oil-export ban.

Bitcoin may require human oversight, as chief of an exchange for the digital currency is found dead in Singapore.

Bob Evans Farms looks to bounce back from tough winter as its "barbell" strategy lifts sales.

Business Insider sees further investment from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.Continue reading...

video killed the _____ star

Verizon Looks to Mobile Streaming for Entry into TV Content

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 5, 2014 07:34 PM

With net neutrality out the door and streaming the new "it" thing, TV providers and content producers are getting busy to strike deals.

Disney and Dish recently agreed to a long-term contract that will deliver all Disney-owned content, including ABC and ESPN, to the network's subscribers in exchange for Dish dropping its ad-skipping feature that was the focus of litigation between the two companies. And now Verizon is reportedly in talks with content providers to deliver web-based TV services to mobile phones. 

"I have personally had discussions with the CEOs of the large content companies, and we would love to partner with them to see how we can take FiOS contact mobilely across the country," Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said Tuesday at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference, Reuters reports. This comes after Verizon acquired Intel's OnCue service back in January to help it get into “next-generation video services” more quickly.Continue reading...

video killed the _____ star

Netflix Cuts Deal with Comcast to Pay for "Excellent User Experience"

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 24, 2014 01:58 PM

Plenty of consumers complain each month about the amount of money they pay out to America's largest cable provider, Comcast, and now you can add Netflix to that list.

As a result of changes in net neutrality rules, Comcast has the ability to slow down video streams from any source it wishes. That’s bad news for a company like Netflix, whose millions of customers stream hundreds of bandwidth-sucking movies and TV series at all hours of the day. Recently, Netflix subscribers have been complaining of poor and slow connections, especially those who get their high-speed Internet from Comcast and Verizon's FiOS broadband networks.

In order to keep its own customer satisfaction high, Netflix and Comcast on Sunday confirmed last week's rumor that the companies had reached an undisclosed financial deal with a press release titled, "Comcast and Netflix Team Up to Provide Customers With Excellent User Experience."

The agreement will ensure Netflix's load time won't be slowed by Comcast's broadband nodes, a so-called "peering" deal that may likely be felt in US cable customers' bills down the line. It also got Net Neutrality crowd out in full force, on both sides of the debate.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Mobile World Congress, Honda, Barnes & Noble and more

Posted by Dale Buss on February 24, 2014 09:14 AM

In the News

Mobile World Congress gets underway in Barcelona, as Nokia unveils its first Android phone, Samsung drops Android for its new smartwatch, Mozilla promises to deliver a $25 smartphone and Sony tries to crack smartphone market.   

Honda appoints first woman to its board and starts making Fit cars in Mexico.

Barnes & Noble sees conditional acquisition offer. 

Apple and Samsung fail to settle US patent case.

Best Buy and JCPenney will be reporting earnings this week, hoping to show signs of turnaround.

Brahma finds unique way to merge soccer and beer in Brazil.

Budweiser launches special-edition World Cup bottle.

CNN pulls the plug on Piers Morgan primetime show.

Ford reportedly swaps Microsoft for BlackBerry in Sync.

Glanbia may be trying to acquire Muscle Milk parent CytoSport.

Jaguar Land Rover presses dealers for customer data.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Russell Stover, P&G, Nordstrom and more

Posted by Dale Buss on February 21, 2014 09:12 AM

In the News

Russell Stover Candies up for sale, price may top $1 billion.

P&G announces major restructuring of marketing, including beauty-division makeover.

Nordstrom sees sales slide continue at its stores.

Amazon launches video ads with Geico, plans set-top box and woos high-profile retailers.

BJ's Restaurants launches mobile ordering and payment.

Banana Republic ads feature real-life unions including a gay couple.

Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich turns 50.

Chobani and other marketers escape LGBT-related backlash for Sochi advertising.

Coca-Cola has "mediocre Pepsi on its heels," Nelson Peltz says.

Darden Restaurants expands into airports.Continue reading...

video killed the _____ star

Netflix's Biggest Foe isn't HBO, It's the Internet Providers that Move Its Content

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 19, 2014 07:32 PM

As the battle between Netflix and major internet service providers rages on, consumers are paying the price with degraded service.

The complicated plumbing required to deliver a Netflix video to a consumer’s computer or TV is near invisible to users, who are unaware of the bandwidth that companies have to put out in order to transmit such content. The actual data transfer occurs at global “interconnection” hubs, aka, “telecom carrier hotels” where companies like Time Warner Cable, Verizon and AT&T share space. Born in the days of high volume landline telephone traffic, the telcos shared amiably enough, but with the addition of high-bandwidth services like Netflix creating a drain, those relationships have broken down. And now broadband companies are increasingly charging "tolls" to third-party intermediate players like Level 3 and Cogent. 

“This is a scenario that open Internet advocates have been warning about for years," Time notes. “It’s no secret that the big telecom and cable companies resent the fact that they are obliged to deliver high bandwidth content like Netflix—which competes against their own video offerings—in addition to less bandwidth-intensive traffic like emails and chats.”Continue reading...

brand battle

Dish Network Wins Some, Loses Some in Battle Over Words

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 19, 2014 03:41 PM

Four years have passed since Dish Network first attempted to trademark the term “TV Everywhere.” And now, after multiple denials and challenges from competing brands, the TV provider is throwing in the towel, Variety reports. After all, in the time it has spent trying to lock-down the phrase, it has become a term commonly used in the industry to describe TV programming available on multiple devices.

When the US Patent and Trademark Office had put the application up for comment in the fall of 2011, many major content distributors—including Time Warner Cable, DirecTV, Cox Communications, Charter Communications, and Cablevision Systems—challenged the application.

The eventual abandonment of the trademark cause seemed unavoidable, especially now that the concept of "TV Everywhere" is on fire right now. MediaPost reports that “the number of authenticated TV Everywhere streams doubled in 2013 to 574.2 million, up from 222.5 million in 2012.” The data comes from research by Adobe, which shows that 73 percent of the TV Everywhere streams are seen on mobile devices, while tablets lead the way at 42 percent.Continue reading...

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