Comcast Mixes Golf, Business At the Hometown U.S. Open

If you were in the Philadelphia area for the U.S. Open golf tournament earlier this month, it’s likely that you couldn’t swing a 9-iron without hitting an ad promoting Comcast Business, the unit of the MSO that is on pace to rake in more than $3 billion in revenue this year.

With the tournament being played in Comcast’s corporate backyard, the biz unit seemingly blanketed the local area with ads — on buses transporting golf fans to Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, to train stations and the trains themselves. TV viewers might have noticed that even Jason Dufner, who drove, pitched and putted his way to a fourthplace fi nish, was sporting apparel featuring the Comcast Business logo.

And it was all by design, knowing that plenty of business decision- makers would be watching the tournament on TV or onsite. After all, business and golf go together like Fred and Barney and PB&J.

“We decided early on that we wanted to have a presence [at the tournament]; it was very much a local approach,” Karen Schmidt, vice president of marketing for Comcast Business, said, noting that the unit also got some TV tie-ins thanks to its existing relationship with corporate cousins NBC and Golf Channel.

It’s too early to say what kind of results the U.S. Open campaign generated, Schmit said, though he added, “I think we had a pretty consistent presence and reached people who otherwise would not have been aware that Comcast has a business [services] portfolio.”

The eff ort was certainly enough to catch the attention of The Wire during its visit to the old, short course, which made the locals proud as Merion’s narrow fairways, tricky greens and wretched rough took their toll on the world’s greatest golfers throughout the tournament.

Madonna’s Epix Return

On the first night the Epix premium network launched in 2009, it aired a concert movie from Madonna’s “Sticky and Sweet” tour, recorded in Brazil. Epix CEO Mark Greenberg pointed that out last Tuesday (June 18) in welcoming Madonna to the Paris Theater in New York, four nights before debuting another concert film, from her 2012 MDNA Tour, on the channel.

Madonn in top hat and tux, (an homage to Marlene Dietrich, who attended the theater’s opening in 1948), sat down near Bravo’s Andy Cohen in the theater to watch the movie.

Afterward, during a Q&A with fans who packed the house, Madonna declared her tour officially over. Epix made Madonna: The MDNA Tour a centerpiece of a free preview this past weekend.

— Kent Gibbons

Fox News’ ‘The Five’ Hits 500

Fox News Channel is expected to supply the cake Tuesday (June 25) for its daily afternoon series The Five when it celebrates its 500th episode.

The one-hour news block features a rotating panel of onair Fox News personalities, including Greg Gutfeld, Andrea Tantaros, Eric Bolling, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Juan Williams, Bob Beckel and Dana Perino, dishing out info on the top news and pop-culture events of the day. It very quietly has became the third most-watched cable news series so far in 2013. The daily 5-6 p.m. show averages 2 million viewers to date this year, behind only Fox News’ Hannity and The O’Reilly Factor, according to Nielsen.

More like The View than The O’Reilly Factor, the series has found an audience since replacing the controversial Glenn Beck in July 2011 with fast-paced, often lighthearted segments touching upon not only breaking news but also pop-culture events. It’s not uncommon for the hosts to participate in on-air chicken wing eating contests and rapinfused segments that strike a sharp contrast to the more buttonedup approach of other Fox News Channel hosts and anchors.

— R. Thomas Umstead