You might not see Wall St’s reaction to Comcast’s [CMCSA] phone plans in its share price yesterday (up 0.4% at close). But take a look at the telcos, which saw shares fall across the board. Verizon [VZ] suffered the biggest decline at 3%-high enough to make it the biggest percentage decliner of the day on the Dow. SBC [SBC] was down 2.3%, followed by Qwest [Q] (1.8%) and BellSouth [BLS] (1.5%). As MSOs call on the investment community to give cable its due, it was interesting to see that Comcast [CMCSA] chose to give the scoop on its plans to make phone service available to all of its footprint by ’06 to Wall St (via Peter Grant’s WSJ piece Wed) instead of Main St (or even us…). Speaking at the MSO’s annual shareholder meeting Wed, newly crowned chmn Brian Roberts estimated that 50% of Comcast’s plant will be VoIP-enabled by the end of this year, and "hopefully" 95% by the end of ’05. By ’06, phone service would be available to Comcast’s more than 40mln HHs. "If we don’t meet with good success, then when we won’t go that fast, but … we’re optimistic," Roberts said. "This morning’s WSJ article reinforces Comcast’s commitment to VoIP, a positive for Comcast and the cable industry, in our view," wrote Oppenheimer’s Thomas Eagan. Comcast’s meeting kicked off with non- executive chmn C Michael Armstrong announcing that he’d stepped down Tues, passing the chmn torch on to Roberts, who was unanimously elected by the board. Armstrong cited the success of the AT&T Broadband integration as part of the reason why now was the time to step down, adding that he "now has 10 grandchildren and that organized chaos is something my wife and I look forward to spending more time in." Re-elections: Shareholders re-elected all of Comcast’s dirs, ignoring requests from the AFL-CIO, CWA and Intl Brother of Electrical Workers to withhold support for Roberts and Decker Anstrom. Anstrom and Roberts received the lowest number of votes, 92.1% and 94.7%, respectively.

The Daily


TCA Notebook

AMC Networks renewed Acorn TV ’s “Harry Wild” for an eight-episode second season that will arrive on the platform next year. The show’s first season has been sampled by more than 40% of Acorn TV

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