May 30, 2016

Cable at the Capitol 2011

MCTA’s Cable Day at the Capitol will be held Tuesday, Jan. 24th, with a lunch in the Capitol Rotunda from 11:30am to 12:30pm.

Later in the day MCTA will host a reception at DoubleTree Hotel from 5-7pm. All legislators are invited to attend, and MCTA members are encouraged to use this time to connect with their legislators on an personal level.

Xfinity Home Security from Comcast

The Kansas City Region has joined a growing list of Comcast markets across the country with this week’s soft launch of Xfinity Home Security (XHS). This state-of-the-art security service helps customers protect their home and family utilizing the reliability and sophistication of Comcast’s wideband network. With a wide variety of available features, combined with the ease and flexibility of monitoring and adjusting the system remotely, XHS means peace of mind whether at home or on-the-go.

Xfinity Home Security includes traditional home security features coupled with a sophisticated platform integrating many of our products and services, all at an affordable price. Next-generation features include 24 X 7 monitoring with cellular back-up, remote access from your smartphone or computer to the XHS online web portal or through the XHS iPhone/iPad app, and much more. Plus, customers could save up to 20% on their homeowner’s insurance as well as an additional 15% on their energy bill.

We’re very excited about introducing this brand new product to our customers – it’s yet another way we’re bringing innovation into the home in combination with our Triple Play packages. If you haven’t yet done so, be sure to take the XHS training on your Learning Portal, and remember to tell your family, friends and neighbors about Xfinity Home Security.

Tilley Visits Charter Communications

Missouri Speaker of the House Steven Tilley (R- 106th ) visited Charter Commons on November 2, 2011, as part of Charter Communications Employee Grassroots Political Forum.

This forum is designed to encourage open dialogue between political representatives and Charter employees. Representative Tilley spent time with approximately 40 members of Charter’s leadership team, where he discussed his vision for the Missouri House of Representative. He also took a tour of the facility and was eagerly greeted by the nearly 1,000 employees who work at Charter Commons.

Representative Tilley was elected to the House in 2004 and, in 2008, he was elected Majority Floor Leader of the House of Representatives for the 94th Legislative Session. In 2011, he was elected Speaker of the House for the 96th Legislative Session.

MCTA Member Companies Promoting the National EAS Test

The National Cable Telecommunications Association has been working closely with representatives of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) to promote awareness of the first-ever nationwide test of an Emergency Action Notification under the Emergency Alert System (EAS).

This test will be conducted on November 9, 2011, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time and managed jointly by the FCC and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Further information about the test can be found on the FCC’s website here:

The FCC produced a set of Public Service Announcements (PSAs) in 15 second versions. Each PSA is available in English and Spanish, in open and closed caption versions. A 30 second English closed caption version is also available.

View the PSAs on the FCC’s website. Spots will begin running on Monday, October 24 and conclude before 2 p.m. EST on Wednesday, November 9. Downloadable broadcast-ready copies are available on the NCTA Web Site.

The EAS test is designed to span ALL channels on a cable line-up. Therefore, cable networks are asked to consider running one version of the PSA at least several times a day from October 24 through November 9; and that cable systems consider running the spots several times a day on as many insertable channels as possible, through the same period of time.

Comcast: Not Just Bigger — Better

Smit’s Comcast Powered By Innovation, Communication
By Mike Farrell — Multichannel News, September 26, 2011

While the financial world focused on Comcast’s $30 billion deal for control of NBCUniversal over the past year, executives in the upper reaches of the Comcast Center — the tallest building in Philadelphia — never forgot the company’s roots.

“Cable is the heart and soul of the financial engine that is Comcast,” chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said in an interview last week.

In the first half of the year (the NBCU deal closed on Jan. 28), cable accounted for nearly 70% of Comcast’s total revenue and 86% of its total operating cash flow. And though the distribution business in general has taken some hits as fears of telco over-the-top video competition rise among investors, Comcast has shown a remarkable resilience, reducing basic-video losses by more than 30% in the first six months of the year through a combination of new product launches, improved customer service and savvy marketing.

Based on its performance in these categories, Comcast is Multichannel News’ 2011 Operator of the Year.

The closing of the NBCUniversal joint venture — a merger of its national programming assets with the General Electric unit — in January gave Comcast 51% control of a major broadcast network and some of the top U.S. cable networks, including USA Network, Bravo, CNBC and MSNBC. It also signaled a changing of the guard for the cable operations.

At the close, former cable chief operating officer Steve Burke, who had steered Comcast through its greatest period of growth, was tapped to head up NBCU as CEO. His replacement was former Charter Communications CEO Neil Smit. Smit joined Comcast in January 2010 as president of the cable division.

Smit has some formidable shoes to fill. Burke was responsible for successfully integrating Comcast’s acquisitions of AT&T Broadband in 2002 and Adelphia Communications in 2006. During that period, Comcast was transformed from an 8.5 million-subscriber regional power in 2001 into a 24.2 million-subscriber behemoth by the end of 2006.

Over the years, competition, high unemployment and nonexistent housing growth have chipped away at that subscriber base, now at 22.5 million customers.

“The single most important thing in 2011 was the transition to Neil (as head of the cable company) from Steve,” Roberts said. “Neil has done an outstanding job. He’s used to be being on a team.”

Smit ’s performance has not gone unnoticed on Wall Street.


“Neil Smit was a breath of fresh air at the company,” Pivotal Research Group principal and media and communications analyst Jeff Wlodarczak said. “His presence there and some of the initiatives he put in, as well as the fact that they quite successfully rebranded themselves under Xfinity; they have had some very strong growth relative to the industry.”

In his first quarter as head of the cable unit, Smit, a former Navy Seal, tackled the basic-subscriber challenge — the industrywide hemorrhaging of basic-video customers. Building on programs and initiatives created under Burke, Comcast managed to reduce its basic-customer losses significantly. In the first quarter of this year, Comcast lost about 39,000 basic-video subscribers, about half the 82,000 customers it lost in the same period in 2010.

That improved performance built on better-than-expected fourth-quarter results, when the nation’s largest MSO lost about 135,000 basic customers, more than 30% less than the 199,000 it lost in the fourth quarter of 2009.

The trend continued in the second quarter — Comcast lost about 235,000 basic customers, down 11.3% from the 265,000 it lost in the prior year but greater than the 173,000 most analysts expected.

Smit gives all of the credit for the improvements to his team of divisional managers and the 86,000 employees across the cable company. “They’re the stars,” Smit said. “That’s where the heavy lifting is happening.”


Chipping away at video losses remains a priority, he added. “The whole business is focused on retaining customers,” Smit said. “It’s a combination of better products, better services and more targeted marketing. We’ve had three quarters of reduced losses and our ARPU [average revenue per unit] is also up — primarily as we’re selling more advanced services.

“We probably sold in the first half 390,000 HD DVR customers,” he added. “I think there is still room for improvement. At the end of the day, it’s all about focus and execution.”

Smit and his team have focused on a simple tenet: a happy customer is a loyal customer. Creating that happy customer has included beefing up customer service — including reducing service-appointment windows to two hours (in some cases, one hour) across the footprint, reducing trouble calls and truck rolls — and by introducing at least one new product innovation in each quarter.

Comcast wants to “fundamentally transform” the customer experience, Smit said, making it more convenient and reliable. In the second quarter, repeat service calls declined by 15% and repair calls declined by 9%. The company estimates that by the end of the year, it will have reduced service-related truck rolls by 2 million and service- related phone calls by 10 million, compared to 2009.

“We’re making progress,” Smit said.

West Division president Steve White said a big part of customer service is listening to subscribers and tailoring options to fit their needs. In his division, which has more than 6 million subscribers in tech-savvy cities like San Francisco and Seattle, White said efforts have centered on enhancing the self-help experience for broadband, voice and video.

“We find that a lot of customers want to resolve things themselves,” White said, adding that Comcast has developed several tools, including a Customer Central portion of its website where subscribers can manage their bills and account settings, and locate information to solve problems themselves.

“Those [tools] have come a long way,” White said. “We lead the company in self-install kit installations, because it’s simple, it’s easy and our customers feel more empowered. Our job is to make it easy for them.”


Comcast also has focused on enhancing the overall customer experience through an initiative called “One Welcome.”

The One Welcome concept was first trialed in Comcast’s Central division, which comprises about 8 million customers in 15 states, and focuses on a new triple play customer’s first 120 days with the company, starting with the initial install. Comcast technicians literally walk the customer through all the aspects of the service on the first day, setting up their iPad, caller-ID functions, billing preferences and even elaborate SMS notifications on the status of their household service to their cellphones.

Central Division president William Connors said One Welcome was trialed in about 4 million homes around Chicago and will expand to other major metropolitan areas in the division over the next three to six months and be fully deployed across the company in the next six to nine months. During the trial, One Welcome customers signed up for SMS alerts and iPad service at five to six times the normal adoption rate of those services.

“We can’t wait to look back 30 days and see how we did and make analytical and strategy decisions,” Connors said. “You’ve really got to look at what happened in the most recent hour and then look back at the previous 24 hours … That is the nature of the competitive landscape we’re in.”

Roberts said a prime example of the speed of new product turnaround is Comcast’s iPad app. Initially introduced in May, it reached 3 million users last week.

“We’ve really turned a corner [in the] the summer of the iPad app,” Roberts said. “We didn’t have to roll a single truck, and we improved the experience of our customers.”

Product innovation has been a mantra for Smit, who has set a goal of at least one new product per quarter.

And Smit is no stranger to the Internet: Before working at Charter, Smit worked at AOL, where he learned the intricacies of a largescale Web operation.

So far in 2011, the new-product pipeline has produced products for dynamic ad insertion; home security; Metro Ethernet business services; a 105 Megabit per second data product; Signature Support, a technical support and equipment protection program for home electronics devices; the Xfinity TV app for the Android; the Play Now app, which enables customers to access VOD content on their IPad; and Catch Up/Keep Up, which enables customers to view past episodes of shows with the click of their remote.

Announced in 2011 and coming soon is a Skype applications that allows Comcast customers to make video phone calls through their TVs, PCs, compatible Smartphone and tablets.

“This is the fastest innovation cycle the industry’s experienced and from my perspective, it’s just starting,” Smit said, adding that Comcast’s cloud-based network architecture enables it to introduced new offerings quickly.

“Speeding up the process is going to be critical to the customer experience,” Smit added. “We’re applying what we learned from the Web and the apps and applying it to the TV screen. Working on the cross platform experience with things like recommendation engines is going to be critical. The pace of innovation is going to accelerate.”

Miller Tabak media analyst David Joyce said that Comcast’s product innovation efforts are making a mark.

“They are definitely ramping up their innovation,” Joyce said. “They’re showing that they are much more than just a video company.”

That is a big step for Comcast, which has traditionally been the more video-centric of the larger operators. Several years ago, when other MSOs were concentrating on increasing data speeds and rolling out phone service, Comcast put a greater emphasis on video on demand.

Today, both worlds seem to have converged, at least for the Philadelphia-based cable giant. Comcast has been a big proponent of DOCSIS 3.0 with its ultra-high data speeds — the company has launched a 105 Megabit per second product called Extreme in several markets — and at the same time has more VOD titles (30,000-plus) and its customers access more VOD programming (upwards of 350 million views per month) than any other operator.

Wlodarczak said that Comcast’s early focus on the video side of the business is paying off .

Focusing on content and obtaining VOD and streaming rights early helped set the stage for the MSO’s aggressive push into TV Everywhere, online content authentication that is available across its systems, Wlodarczak said.

Perhaps the biggest reason for the change in thinking at the company is the “One Comcast” initiative, in which division presidents and managers across Comcast’s business lines are encouraged to talk to each other, exchange ideas and find solutions to common problems.

“The whole idea under the One Comcast banner is that we’re each feeding different initiatives on behalf of the entire company and by virtue of that you’re bringing folks to participate in those initiatives from across the company,” Northeast division president Kevin Casey said — regardless of service or product.

Comcast has come full circle since its more acquisitive days, he said, when the priority was integrating all of its newly purchased systems.

“That was a lot of lifting,” Casey said of those years. “Now that we’ve had a couple of years under our belt, [the question is] how do we accelerate our business?”

Mark Robichaux contributed to this report.
© 2011 NewBay Media, LLC. 28 East 28th Street, 12th floor, New York, NY 10016 T (212) 378-0400 F (212) 378-0470

Blue Skies for MCTA Golf Tournament

After two successive years of inclement weather, Mother Nature finally gave MCTA a break—and what a triumph it was with 184 golfers participated in the MCTA Bill Mullen Memorial Golf Tournament.

This year’s tournament was held June 21 at Old Hickory Golf Course in St. Peters, Missouri. Judging from golfer comments, the course was a winner, so plans include holding next year’s tournament at the same location.

Our first place team consisted of Tom DeMuse, Mark Maloy and Ryan Dansby (Aurora) and Sean Gallagher (Charter Communications). Congratulations to all on a great round of golf!

With all of the items on display, the silent auction and raffle were a huge success. Attendees walked away with some great prizes: a set of golf clubs, bottles of superb wine, an NFL football autographed by current KC Chiefs starting quarterback Matt Cassel, and St. Louis Cardinals green seat baseball tickets, just to name a few.

Hockey Hall-of-Famer and former St. Louis Blues player Bernie Federko, served as honorary chairman. Leif Lisec, KC Metro Sports personality, was the master of ceremonies, while HBO’s Jennifer Mancuso assisted as the official auctioneer.

Participants enjoyed sumptuous food, great fellowship, and a good time was had by all. Proceeds from the event go to the MCTA PAC. Thanks to all who participated in any way!

VJ Mancuso Memorial Benefit

Words cannot describe the feeling of gratitude that we have for any and all who donated, participated, attended and or gave of themselves at 1st Annual VJ Memorial Fund Trivia Night, in honor of our Son. Between the laughs, stories and folks getting together, it was memorable evening.

It was a truly a successful night. We all helped raise approximately $15,000. These monies will be put to The VJ Mancuso Memorial Fund, a non for profit organization founded in the memory of VJ Mancuso who courageously lost his battle of a severe congenital heart defect known as Hypo Plastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS). This fund is dedicated to supporting children with special needs, helping organizations, individuals and families that made VJ’s short time in this world a full and happy life.

Some of following beneficiaries include: Early Childhood Center of the Rockwood School District, the children, families and nurses at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, St. Ambrose Church & School and Temple Israel.

Thanks for your friendship, love and support!

# # #
Saturday, August 20, the VJ Mancuso Memorial Fund will be hosting a trivia event hosted by Courtney Landrum of Y98’s Phillips & Company, will be held at Temple Israel in St. Louis.

The VJ Mancuso Memorial Fund is a not for profit organization founded in the memory of VJ Mancuso, who courageously battled a severe congenital heart defect known as Hypo Plastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS). This fund is dedicated to supporting children with special needs, helping organizations, individuals and families that made VJ’s short time in this world a full and happy life.

Doors open at 6pm Trivia Starts at 7pm, and it’s $160 for a table of 8, and proceeds are to benefit children with special needs.

V.J. Mancuso, was the son of Jennifer Mancuso, who is an associate member of MCTA. Learn more about the VJ Mancuso Memorial Fund at

Congressman Clay Visits Charter Commons

Missouri Congressman William Lacy Clay (D-1st) visited Charter Commons on Monday, June 6, 2011, as part of the Charter Employee Grassroots Political Forum.

This forum is designed to encourage open dialogue between Charter employees and political representatives. Congressman Clay’s visit began with a 45 minute meeting with managers where he told about key issues that impact Missouri and took time to answer questions. He then took a tour of the facility and was eagerly greeted by employees that wanted to shake his hand and have a picture taken with him.

Congressman Clay has served his district since 2000 and is a member of both the Oversight and Reform Committee and Financial Services Committee.

Prior to serving in Congress, Mr. Clay was a member of the MO state legislature for some 17 years.

Federko Honorary Chairman of Mullen Tourney

MCTA is pleased to announce that Bernie Federko, Hockey Hall of Famer and former St. Louis Blues centre, will be the Honorary Chairman for the 2011 Bill Mullen MCTA Annual Tournament.

Federko was drafted by the St. Louis Blues in 1976, and went to become the first player in NHL history to record at least 50 assists in 10 consecutive seasons. He had his number ’24’ retired by the Blues on March 16, 1991, and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2002.

Federko is currently a television color commentator for the Blues.

Charter Pledges $50,000 to the American Red Cross St. Louis Chapter for Tornado Relief Efforts

St. Louis, MO – Charter is contributing $50,000 to the American Red Cross St. Louis Chapter to aid relief efforts following the damage caused by severe storms and tornados that hit the St. Louis area on Friday, April 22.

“St. Louis is our home and we are committed to helping bring relief to our friends and neighbors. Charter teams were in affected neighborhoods immediately following the storm, and we’ve safely installed thousands of feet of temporary cable and restored customers’ service at a remarkable pace,” said John Higgins, Jr., Charter’s Vice President and General Manager in Missouri. “We are proud to be part of a community where companies step-up at times like this to provide assistance. Crews restoring power and Charter’s technical teams worked tirelessly to restore services. And the American Red Cross has done an outstanding job in all they’ve done thus far to help those whose lives have been uprooted by this tornado.”

“The Red Cross is grateful for the support of corporate partners like Charter, who are critical to the ability of the Red Cross to help people in their time of need,” said Cindy Erickson, Regional Chief Executive Officer for the St. Louis Area Chapter. “We appreciate Charter’s confidence in the mission of the American Red Cross.”

The American Red Cross St. Louis Area Chapter continues to provide shelter, food, clothing, damage assessment and casework for families who have been displaced from their homes due to the storms. Trained damage assessment teams are currently in North St. Louis county and other neighborhoods meeting with families to assess needs, provide clean-up supplies and food, and continue to provide assistance as the recovery continues in the weeks and months ahead. To join Charter and the American Red Cross and help those affected by the storms, please visit

About Charter
Charter (NASDAQ: CHTR) is a leading broadband communications company and the fourth-largest cable operator in the United States. Charter provides a full range of advanced broadband services, including advanced Charter TV® video entertainment programming, Charter Internet® access, and Charter Phone®. Charter Business® similarly provides scalable, tailored, and cost-effective broadband communications solutions to business organizations, such as business-to-business Internet access, data networking, business telephone, video and music entertainment services, and wireless backhaul. Charter’s advertising sales and production services are sold under the Charter Media® brand. More information about Charter can be found at

Media Contact for Charter: Jessica Myers
Phone: 314-543-6668 | Email: