MIKE ARMSTRONG: Coming up. The cash register will stay closed for one payday lender. You can thank the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. We’ll tell you about its decision. Comcast may have been late to the game rolling out phone service, but it’s growing fast. And we’ll tell you what market segment it’s looking to conquer now. A Montgomery County company is in a jam, and it’s called Michael Jordan to the rescue. Not that Michael Jordan. Can this corporate star be the difference maker? Philadelphia Business Today starts now.
MIKE ARMSTRONG: The State Supreme Court Thursday ruled that certain payday loans violate the state’s consumer law. That means Advance America cash advance centers won’t be coming back to Pennsylvania any time soon. The company was offering borrowers $500 lines of credit at 6 percent interest plus a $150 monthly fee. The state banking department sued Advance America over that monthly fee. Last summer, a lower court had ruled against the South Carolina-based company. And in December, the lender said it would close its 100 Pennsylvania locations. Well, it did. And yesterday’s Supreme Court decision isn’t going to make Advance America reconsider.
There’s big money in small businesses. That’s Comcast’s latest bet. The company is trying to build a big business out of providing phone and Internet service to restaurants and bars, lawyers and doctors’ offices. The cable TV giant has seen Verizon and AT&T nipping away at its pay TV business, so it’s countering by targeting companies that have fewer than 20 employees. Verizon and AT&T say they’re not worried. There’s a lot of churn in the small business market. They’ve seen competitors come and go. For its part, Comcast says it’s in this for the long haul.
If you read blogs, you’ve seen video clips and posts that are the handiwork of a Philadelphia-area company. Red Lasso captures news and infotainment shows, makes it easy to search for clips, and provides the content over a password-protected Web site. The King of Prussia start-up is a favorite of bloggers because it’s so easy to use. In April alone, Red Lasso attracted 24 million unique visitors. But CBS, NBC, Fox, and two other broadcasters want Red Lasso to cease and desist, because it doesn’t have permission to use their copyrighted work. Red Lasso’s response? It’s gonna keep providing those clips while it negotiates with the networks. And it’s retained a heavy hitter from the broadcasting industry to help press its point. That would be Michael Jordan. Not the basketball star, but the former CEO of CBS and Westinghouse. Look for the next move to come from the broadcasters.
That’s it for this holiday shortened week. At The Inquirer, I’m Mike Armstrong for Philadelphia Business Today.