All Articles Tagged "cable"
It seems like every time OWN takes one step forward, it hits a bump that can possibly hurt the progress.
Carolyn Hommel is suing OWN for sex and pregnancy discrimination, alleging she was on track to becoming a vice president before she got pregnant, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
In the lawsuit filed in a Los Angeles court on Friday, Hommel says she was hired in 2010 as Director of Scheduling and Acquisitions. She says along with the compliment that she was on the VP track, she received a good performance review from her supervisor. Hommel was replaced by a temp employee while she was on maternity leave but when she returned, many of her duties had been reassigned to that employee and she was left out of important meetings.
She gave birth in February 2012 and one month later, she was told she was being laid off. Hommel states that she was told to apply for the vice president job but someone else was hired. She also states that her boss Michael Garner, also named in the lawsuit, made up an entirely different performance review that made Hommel’s position seem less than senior and therefore, she wouldn’t qualify for a vice president position.
Now, we all know OWN was going through it after it launched in 2011 so it is plausible that she just got caught in the shuffle trying to keep the network afloat; however, Hommel says she was demoted and eventually let go because she got pregnant and took leave.
The damages she’s seeking are unspecified.
It should be noted that Oprah is not named in the lawsuit so it doesn’t have anything to do with her directly. However, she’s probably well aware of what’s going on because something like this is the last thing she needs to deal with on top of still trying to get some ratings.
OWN reps chose not to comment on the situation.
Many viewers will soon be paying more for basic cable service. “Under a recent Federal Communications Commission rule change effective Dec. 10, millions of television owners who do not currently have a cable box will have to get one for every set, according to public service consumer resource guide Consumer World,” says the Huffington Post. This may also mean an additional monthly rental fee in order to access cable for some consumers.
Local cable TV operators can now scramble their signals, which means a set-top box will be required on every TV to view programs, reports HuffPo. And according to Consumer World, those boxes cost around $10 each per month.
Although cable will now cost users more, according to the FCC, the new rule will benefit consumers, not harm them. “By allowing cable operators to encrypt the basic service and require a cable box, cable services can now be activated and deactivated remotely rather than requiring a house call, according to the government agency,” writes the Huffington Post.
The measure will negatively affect “a small number of cable subscribers who use basic service without using a set-top box or other equipment,” admits the FCC.
The FCC will also now require cable operators to give two free convertor boxes to customers who have only basic service and one free convertor box to customers using higher tiers of service for two years. This will offset the price of the new required boxes. “After that, customers will be required to rent or buy boxes of their own,” explains the news site.
Cable has already increased over the past decade. The average cable TV subscriber paid close to three times as much for cable in 2011 than in 2001 – an increase in price, from about $48 a month to $128. More and more African Americans are watching cable as we reported, with popular shows on VH1, BET, and ESPN taking the top ratings. This upward trend in black cable viewing could be disrupted by the new charge. It’s already facing competition from TV on-demand offerings.
Behind The Click: Wilco Electronic Systems Exec Brigitte Daniel Takes Her Family’s Company Into the Future
Welcome to another installment of “Behind the Click.” I am particularly excited to profile someone I recently had the opportunity to share a panel discussion with at the annual Minority Media Telecommunications Council in Washington, D.C.: Brigitte Daniel, the executive VP of Wilco Electronic Systems, an African-American-owned private cable operator. We recently caught up in Philadelphia for brunch not long after the panel. Here’s a peek at part of our conversation…
Lauren deLisa Coleman: Brigitte, where did you do your undergraduate and graduate work?
Brigitte Daniel: I attended Spelman College in Atlanta [and] Georgetown University Law School in Washington D.C. I loved both of my experiences at these schools. Spelman provided me with a wonderful foundation for womanhood, scholarship and character. Georgetown provided me with the professional skill set to have a career in the fields of law and business.
LdC: Talk about your transition from school into the “family business.”
BD: I am the daughter of one of the last remaining African-American-owned private cable operators in the nation. In 1977, the year of my birth, my father started his company with $4,000, a vocational education, a strong work ethic and a good head for business. He is affectionately known as Philadelphia’s “last man standing” within the cable industry. The significance of a company like Wilco meant little to me when I was younger. At the time, I thought the cable industry was uninteresting, uncreative and simply a way of watching television. It wasn’t until I grew older that I realized the historical importance of being in an industry that determines how people communicate now and for generations to come; the sacrifices made in order to stay in business for over 30 years; and the community significance of legacy building and passing on businesses to subsequent generations.
Thus, I found myself taking up the challenges of the communications industry, just as my father did 33 years before. By the time I was 21, I was vigorously pursuing communications law and the art of business practices within the telecommunications industry. The industry I once found uninteresting and mundane now held my every interest and dramatically sparked my ambitions. The transition from lawyer to communications “business woman” has been a steep learning curve. But I wake up every day inspired that my family supports my leadership and I look forward to continuing our legacy and leveraging this unique family business.
LdC: What’s a typical day at your office?
BD: I am now taking over most of the principal roles that were held by my father. To make sure my head is ready for any day, I usually start out with a good 6 a.m. five-mile run or class at my gym. By 8:30 a.m., I am usually meeting with my senior executives to go over the status of the departments. Throughout the day, I am in meetings.
LdC: As digital converges more and more with cable content delivery, what are the difficulties for Wilco?
BD: When I came to Wilco, the cable world had undergone a new technological revolution. From the proliferation of computers and increased access speeds, to the convergence of images, sounds and texts into various digital platforms now deployed over new fiber optic networks, I realized quickly that our longstanding family business either had to grow or go. I found myself faced with the challenges of transitioning Wilco from a cable company to a technology company.
The difficulty in staying relevant and up to pace with industry technologies is an every day battle. However, I will say that this new Information Age has allowed for lower barriers of entry into markets and opportunities for our company to create new lines of business. With the influx of mobile applications and affordable emerging technologies, many new doors have opened for us to chart new paths in cable, content delivery and broadband access.
by R. Asmerom
All eyes have been on Oprah since she left her legendary talk show to launch a new cable channel which embodied the brand that she’s cultivated over 25 years, and it’s certainly been a rocky start for her OWN network. Or, at least, that’s what the news media has been so consistently communicating since OWN’s original CEO, Christina Norman, was fired last May over low ratings and Oprah took the helm.
Nearly a year later, and within the past month, OWN has cut 20 percent of its staff and cancelled The Rosie Show, which garnered 200,000 viewers a night in its short lived stint on the air.
It all seems dismal from the outside, for those reading the barrage of headlines reporting on what seems to be OWN’s imminent failure. But what may seem like doom, maybe just simple growing pains, says Keith Clinkscales of Shadow MediaWorks.
“If you look at the ratings of Oprah’s channel against comparable women’s channels at their same age of birth so to speak – Bravo, Oxygen, possibly WE – you’re going to see comparable ratings but because there is an O in there, the expectation and demand is a little bit higher.”
Although Norman was fired due to ratings and was criticized for not balancing the positive, uplifting programming with more entertaining programming that would attract a wider audience, Winfrey has yet to turn things around under her leadership. In an interview with CBS’ The Early Show, Winfrey admitted that she didn’t expect the immense challenges that came with her new career. “The idea of creating a network was something that I wanted to do. Had I known that it was this difficult, I might have done something else,”she said. “I didn’t think it was going to be easy, but if I knew then what I know now, I might have made different choices.”
What Winfrey’s challenging journey affirms, however, is not that she can’t make a successful network happen but that launching a cable network is one hard business, according to Clinkscales. “I think Oprah is going to be fine,” he said. “Oprah will find a way to deliver her brand of quality in a format that works with her network. The thing to keep in mind is that she has 75 million homes with this network, and they have their bumps and their grinds.”
With OWN continuing to tweak and re-arrange their content offerings in hopes of finding a profitable path, Winfrey’s experience in cable is sure to lend insight onto the plans of Sean Combs aka Diddy and Magic Johnson who both announced the launch of cable networks through the Comcast Diversity Program. Comcast Corp. agreed to bring more ownership diversity to its channel offerings when it merged with NBC in 2011.
Get ready to have your “things can’t get any worse” card trumped because a major cable network has issued a casting call for women who are real-life examples of the perpetuated teen mom cycle:
According to Jezebel, TheCastingFirm.com has linked with a cable channel to find the following:
“Seeking young grandmothers for a starring role in the brand new series ’30 Something Grandmas.’ The show will showcase the stories of extraordinary women whose lives have been changed by the unexpected arrival of a new family member and the even more surprising title of ‘Grandma!’”
I don’t think I’d be wrong for saying we can safely assume who will be exploited on this show. The last thing we need is another reason to get famous for foolishness.
What do you think about this show idea? Would you watch?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
More on Madame Noire!
This has to be the worst news Spike Lee has heard all week!
But for Tyler Perry fans and enthusiasts, it’s great news. Said news of course being that Tyler Perry is reportedly in talks to get his own cable channel. Following in the footsteps of supporter and homie Oprah Winfrey who has her OWN Network (check the play on words too!), according to The New York Times, the channel would include re-runs of Tyler Perry’s successful television shows like “House of Payne” and “Meet the Browns,” as well as a show based around the ever-popular character of Madea. Tyler TV–an insider tells the Times that is a title that’s a work in progress–would be a venture with Lionsgate, which has distributed Perry’s films over the years. The channel would be aimed at Perry’s loyal black female audience.
I’m always happy for Tyler Perry’s successes, and if this channel does indeed get developed, it will definitely be a historic success. I just hope any further shows developed and presented on the channel will be different and innovative. Because…well, sorry, but “Meet the Browns” is just NOT funny…Yeah, I said it.
To get the full scoop on the would-be could-be channel and Lionsgate and Perry’s alleged plans, go to The New York Times.
(Multichannel News) — Comcast Corp. will begin the process of adding 10 new independent, minority-owned and operated channels by soliciting proposals from Hispanic and African-American networks. As part of its merger agreement with NBC Universal, Comcast pledged it would launch 10 new independent channels over the next eight years, including eight that are Hispanic- and African-American owned or operated. Comcast officials are now accepting proposals for the first three. The first, a channel that is “American Latino operated and programmed in English” — will launch by July 28, 2012. The other two will be majority African-American-owned and will launch by January 28, 2013.
(Time) — Anchor, nibble, crunch. They sorta sound like they could be yoga positions. But they’re actually part of a strategy to talk your way to lower cable bills—or to getting your way in any other business arrangement involving back-and-forth negotiations. John Ogilvie, a University of Hartford management professor, is the main source called upon to offer negotiation tactics in a Hartford Courant story about ways consumers can reduce their cable bills and/or the price of bundled packages with TV, Internet, and/or phone. So what’s up with “anchor, nibble, crunch”?
(Black Enterprises) — Only time will tell if Comcast Corporation’s tapping Burrell Communications LLC. (No. 4 on the BE 100 advertising agencies list with billings of $180 million last year) as its African-American advertising agency of record is a step in the right direction for diversity or just a good PR move, industry insiders say.
The selection comes on the heels of Comcast’s purchasing NBC Universal in late January and a series of congressional hearings last year that questioned both companies’ diversity statistics within ownership, management, programming and advertising activities. The uproar resulted in Comcast pledging a few diversity commitments, such as adding at least eight independently-owned and -operated cable networks for minorities–four of which African-Americans will have a majority or substantial ownership interest–and creating a $20 million capital fund to assist minority entrepreneurs along with enhancing minority participation in news and public affairs programming, according to the NAACP. In 2009, Comcast and NBCU collectively spent more than $1.5 billion in overall advertising but only $6.3 million, or less than .5%, was spent on black media, according to Target Market News. Comcast wouldn’t disclose Burrell’s budget amount.
Look around. While all our tech gadgets may have us enthralled, recent stats from the Pew Research Center show that TV is still a dominant media force among young African-Americans. No doubt, we’re media-meshing: flat screen on, while laptop is open nearby, cell phone at-the-ready, maybe even recording one program to watch on schedule while watching another in real time. Being so “plugged in” means that you always know what’s up. But just how much might we risk missing in this country when it comes to the convergence of images and technology?
While, thankfully, we don’t have to deal with the jammed satellite TV broadcasts Iran implemented as it experiences the domino effect of revolution this week in the Middle East, we should all be aware of the fact that image, when combined with commerce and influence, makes for some interesting power plays. But the question is: just who is the pawn? Typically it’s the average consumer, so here’s something we should all be up on.
Behind the scenes at the Federal Communications Commission ( the entity which essentially governs our airwaves), a stealth battle is being waged over the future of television and the convergence of technology. The FCC is trying to set limits regarding devices like Google TV to access pay TV content and reconfigure into images that will work with both television and the Internet. The proposal is called AllVid system, and Google is definitely carrying the flag for such policy. AllVid doesn’t exist yet, but here’s the concept: to make mandatory an industry-wide tech piece that you could plug into your broadband router and connect to your cable TV provider, then watch all the online video and pay channels you want via a variety of AllVid-type gadgets. Hot, right? But your cable provider really hates the proposal, because it would create mad competition to their services for which you are already paying a ton. Word is that HBO and the NBA are already on board with Google, but the other networks, not so much.
It’s interesting how these companies make such moves without consulting the very consumers who enable them to become the financial behemoths they are. Look, for example, at what the National Coalition of African-American Owned Media (NAACOM) says regarding Comcast (should you be one of the many millions in this country under their cable jurisdiction): African American subscribers make up approximately 40% of Comcast’s $36 billion annual revenue, representing $15 billion annually. That’s an awful lot of chips.
The question that, particularly young, digitally savvy African-Americans might want to ask themselves is if it’s okay for our voices not to be heard, considering that our household monthly bills will be affected? Do you want more images that reflect you if you have to pay that much? Maybe it’s time to get acquainted with a sister who is a Commissioner on the FCC named Mignon Clyburn. What’s another email in the sea of communications you transmit each day? Something tells me this generation may end up being more vocal about these issues than the last.
Just some food for thought.
Lauren DeLisa Coleman is a writer, host and thought-leader specializing in the diverse segment of the Gen Y demo, tech and its convergence with socio-economic concerns. She is also the CEO and founder of Punch Media Group, an edgy digital media and entertainment company which develops pop culture experience and branding strategy across digital platforms. Follow her @mediaempress