January 22, 2014

CAN TV’s future still uncertain, meanwhile Comcast relaunching local resource EveryBlock in Chicago

Yesterday the Chicago Tribune reported that Comcast is resurrecting EveryBlock – the local community website that NBC shut down last year because it was not profitable – starting with a Chicago site. EveryBlock looks like a great community resource, but is this just a move to undermine CAN TV in the ongoing franchise negotiations? We certainly hope not, but it does seem like eerie timing to be relaunching this site in Chicago alone. 

Comcast executives are quoted in the article saying that EveryBlock “fits in the company and the localness we have,” despite the site being pulled last year citing “'considerable' financial losses and the lack of a strategic fit with its digital portfolio.” Why is Comcast bringing the site back now of all times? Especially interesting because the article notes that Comcast executives – including Matt Summy, Comcast’s VP for Government Affairs with whom CMA members met last August to talk about the future of CAN TV – “still hasn’t figured out how to make the site profitable.” 

If Comcast is so keen to support “hyperlocal news” and “user contributions,” without a profit motive, they need to look no further than the public’s channels at CAN TV.

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