Comcast is sometimes described as a family business. Brian L. Roberts, chairman, president, and CEO of Comcast, is the son of founder Ralph Roberts. Roberts owns or controls about 1% of all Comcast shares but all of the Class B supervoting shares, which gives him an "undilutable 33% voting power over the company". Legal expert Susan P. Crawford has said this gives him "effective control over [Comcast's] every step". In 2010, he was one of the highest paid executives in the United States, with total compensation of about $31 million.
Comcast is headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and also has corporate offices in Atlanta, Detroit, Denver, Manchester, New Hampshire and New York City. On January 3, 2005, Comcast announced that it would become the anchor tenant in the new Comcast Center in downtown Philadelphia. The 975 ft (297 m) skyscraper is the tallest building in Pennsylvania. Comcast has begun construction on a second 1,121 ft (342 m) skyscraper directly adjacent to the original Comcast headquarters in the summer of 2014.
The company is often criticized by both the media and its own staff for its less upstanding policies regarding employee relations. A 2012 Reddit post written by an anonymous Comcast call center employee eager to share their negative experiences with the public received attention from publications including The Huffington Post. A 2014 investigative series published by The Verge involved interviews with 150 of Comcast's employees. It sought to examine why the company has become so widely criticized by its customers, the media and even members of its own staff. The series claimed part of the problem is internal and that Comcast's staff endures unreasonable corporate policies. According to the report: "customer service has been replaced by an obsession with sales; technicians are understaffed while tech support is poorly trained; and the company is hobbled by internal fragmentation." A widely read article penned by an anonymous call center employee working for Comcast appeared in November 2014 on Cracked. Titled "Five Nightmares You Live While Working For America's Worst Company," the article also claimed that Comcast is obsessed with sales, doesn't train its employees properly and concluded that "the system makes good customer service impossible."
Comcast has also earned a reputation for being anti-union. According to one of the company's training manuals, "Comcast does not feel union representation is in the best interest of its employees, customers, or shareholders". A dispute in 2004 with CWA, a labor union that represented many employees at Comcast's offices in Beaverton, Oregon, led to allegations of management intimidating workers, requiring them to attend anti-union meetings and unwarranted disciplinary action for union members. In 2011, Comcast received criticism from Writers Guild of America for its policies in regards to unions.
Despite these criticisms, Comcast has appeared on multiple "top places to work" lists. In 2009, it was included on CableFAX magazine's "Top 10 Places to Work in Cable", which cited its "scale, savvy and vision". Similarly, the Philadelphia Business Journal awarded Comcast the silver medal among extra-large companies in Philadelphia, with the gold medal going to partner organization, Comcast-Spectacor. The Boston Globe found Comcast to be that city's top place to work in 2009. Employee diversity is also an attribute upon which Comcast receives strong marks. In 2008, Black Enterprise magazine rated Comcast among the top 15 companies for workforce diversity. Comcast was also named a "Top 2014 Workplace" by The Washington Post in their annual feature. The Human Rights Campaign has given Comcast a 100 on the Corporate Equality Index and one of the best places for LGBT people to work
The book value of the company nearly doubled from $8.19 a share in 1999 to $15 a share in 2009. Revenues grew sixfold from 1999's $6 billion to almost $36 billion in 2009. Net profit margin rose from 4.2% in 1999 to 8.4% in 2009, with operating margins improving 31% and return on equity doubling to 6.7% in the same time span. Between 1999 and 2009, return on capital nearly tripled to 7%. Comcast reported first quarter 2012 profit increases of 30% due to increase in high-speed internet customers. In February 2014, Comcast generated 1.1 billion in revenue during the first quarter due to the Sochi Olympics. As of 2018, Comcast is ranked No. 33 on the Fortune 500 rankings of the largest United States corporations by total revenue.
For the fiscal year 2017, Comcast reported earnings of US$22.7 billion, with an annual revenue of US$84.5 billion, an increase of 5.5% over the previous fiscal cycle. Comcast's shares traded at over $37 per share, and its market capitalization was valued at over US$163.7 billion in October 2018.
in mil. USD$
in mil. USD$
in mil. USD$
Lobbying and electoral fundraising
With $18.8 million spent in 2013, Comcast has the seventh largest lobbying budget of any individual company or organization in the United States. Comcast employs multiple former U.S. Congressmen as lobbyists. The National Cable & Telecommunications Association, which has multiple Comcast executives on its board, also represents Comcast and other cable companies as the fifth largest lobbying organization in the United States, spending $19.8 million in 2013. Comcast was among the top backers of Barack Obama's presidential runs, with Comcast vice president David Cohen raising over $2.2 million from 2007 to 2012. Cohen has been described by many sources as influential in the U.S. government, though he is no longer a registered lobbyist, as the time he spends lobbying falls short of the 20% which requires official registration. Comcast's PAC, the Comcast Corporation and NBCUniversal Political Action Committee, is the among the largest PACs in the U.S., raising about $3.7 million from 2011 to 2012 for the campaigns of various candidates for office in the United States Federal Government. Comcast is also a major backer of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association Political Action Committee, which raised $2.6 million from 2011 to 2012. Comcast spent the most money of any organization in support of the Stop Online Piracy and PROTECT IP bills, spending roughly $5 million to lobby for their passage.
Comcast also backs lobbying and PACs on a regional level, backing organizations such as the Tennessee Cable Telecommunications Association and the Broadband Communications Association of Washington PAC. Comcast and other cable companies have lobbied state governments to pass legislation restricting or banning individual cities from offering public broadband service. Municipal broadband restrictions of varying scope have been passed in a total of 20 U.S. States.
Comcast offers low cost internet and cable service to schools, subsidized by general broadband consumers through the U.S. government's E-Rate program. Critics have noted that many of the strongest supporters of Comcast's business deals have received substantial funding from the Comcast Foundation.