Comcast exec promises independence, love for NBCU


The cable industry is gathered together in Los Angeles, giving Comcast chief Brian Roberts an opportunity to discuss its proposed acquisition of NBC Universal. For starters, he said there would be no attempt to impose any Comcast cultural values on NBCU. He also said that as a media company, Comcast would likely lavish more love – and investment capital – on it.

Roberts has obviously been paying attention to the latest round of quarterly financial results conference calls, and said that NBCU was likely to join in on the recovery that so many broadcast outfits are reporting to be well in progress.

According to a Dow Jones report, Comcast COO Steve Burke will be giving NBCU a great deal of his attention, and current NBCU exec Jeff Zucker will continue to run it.

Roberts noted that the acquisition is a bet by his company that the possession of multiple distribution streams is the best way to move forward, and would give the company a vested interest in seeing to it that broadcast continues to offer top-notch programming and attract large numbers of viewers.

It would also give the company a vested interest in retransmission fees from MVPDs for broadcasters to help keep the broadcast medium financially healthy.

Roberts also said he had no worries about FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski’s new approach to internet regulation, saying that the industry always seems to find a way to operate within the regulatory framework.

RBR-TVBR observation: Certain circumstances and business realities make it inevitable that the broadcast and cable industries clash from time to time. They need one another, but at the same time they are also in competition with one another. So it is exceedingly odd to hear a cable exec praise the concept of retransmission consent negotiations. We wonder if the lyrics to that song will be substantially revised if regulators shoot this deal down.