The Korner

Possibilities of a Comcast Theme Park

So, when the Comcast-NBC-Universal merger goes through, how will it affect the Universal Studios’ theme parks? I don’t think we will see a ride based on the movie, The Cable Guy, given its subject matter and that it was a Columbia Pictures release. Maybe there will be new attractions dedicated to broadband. How about a ride that keys off the line, “To Xfinity and beyond”? Again, this phrase references another non-Universal movie, so we probably won’t see that attraction.

A ride based on the Slowskys is probably not thrilling enough for an amusement park. On second thought, maybe they could do something interesting, as they have built a clever web site around these broadband-challenged tortoises. Comcast even has an online store for hawking Slowsky-related merchandise. This is a great first step, as amusement parks are profit-making marketing engines. Fans pay admission for the privilege of shopping, seeing cross-promotional messages and spending most of their time in line.

Another possible synergy between Comcast and the theme parks is data collection.  Universal Studios and other major theme parks use fingerprint identification to identify season pass holders to ensure that people don’t try to sneak into the park with someone else’s season pass. I could see why they would want to put in this sort of security measure. In Japan, they have apparently gone one-step further and have adopted facial recognition, as seen in this video from NEC.

The concern I had when I went through the turnstile is that they fingerprinted my entire family, even though we are not season pass holders. Because we purchased the tickets online, they presumably could associate our fingerprint with our email addresses. I am not certain the government has this sort of detailed information on me.

FLO TV - Still Going Strong?I ask this question in half-jest, but will CPNI regulations that apply to Comcast extend to the theme park? What would happen if the Universal Studios theme park were to share the rich data they have on me with Comcast?  The Universal Studios Hollywood web site indicates that they may share data from their site with affiliates. Heck, maybe the sharing will be a two-way street once a fingerprint-driven remote control is available.

Probably the most interesting thing about my summer vacation to Comcast Studios, I mean Universal Studios Hollywood, was the announcement by our tour guide regarding the filming of the FLO TV commercial on the studio lot. Apparently, the production crew didn’t get hear the possibility that the FLO TV service might be shuttered. Again, tongue in cheek, I have to wonder if Comcast will prohibit production of competitors’ commercials when they take control of Universal Studios.

Author Ken Pyle, Managing Editor

By Ken Pyle, Managing Editor

Ken Pyle is Marketing Director for the Broadband Forum. The mission of this 25+-year-old non-profit “is to unlock the potential for new markets and profitable revenue growth by leveraging new technologies and standards in the home, intelligent small business, and multi-user infrastructure of the broadband network.”

He is also co-founder of Viodi, LLC and Managing Editor of the Viodi View, a publication focused on the rural broadband ecosystem, autonomous vehicles, and electric aviation. He has edited and produced numerous multimedia projects for NTCA, US Telecom and Viodi. Pyle is the producer of Viodi’s Local Content Workshop, the Video Production Crash Course at NAB, as well as ViodiTV. He has been intimately involved in Viodi’s consulting projects and has created processes for clients to use for their PPV and VOD operations, as well authored reports on the independent telco market.

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