Comcast sees NBC as turnaround opportunity


Executives of Comcast have been brutally honest that they attached very little value to the NBC Network when they were looking to buy NBC Universal. But now that it’s theirs, the folks at Comcast are hoping for a turnaround in the network TV business.

Speaking to a Credit Suisse Investor Conference Tuesday (3/8), Comcast CFO Michael Angelakis noted that when his company was evaluating NBCU the TV network was in fourth place – and had been for some time.

“We looked at that as a challenge, but it’s an opportunity. They’re actually investing a reasonable amount on the programming side, but it’s a turnaround. And I don’t want to sugarcoat that. I think the turnaround is a creative turnaround,” Angelakis said, noting that a new person had been brought in to head the network [Bob Greenblatt,  Chairman, NBC Entertainment].

“I think he will say it’s going to take a while to get that creative turnaround going. I think as that creative turnaround fully materializes ratings will follow and advertising will follow there,” Angelakis told the investor gathering.

“At the same time, I think it’s been pretty well known retransmission consent is starting to materialize,” the CFO said, “so we look at the network as having a heck of a lot more upside than downside.”

Angelakis made it clear that Comcast is primarily about the cable TV business – including video/Internet/telephone delivery and the combined cable programming networks from the merger of Comcast’s own cable channels with the larger portfolio it got with NBCU. Those businesses, he noted, account for 97% of Comcast’s revenues.

RBR-TVBR observation: Should NBC get its mojo back and someday return to having “Must See TV” the folks at Comcast HQ will be high-fiving for having turned the least-attractive part of NBCU into a major profit center. It’s all gravy, so the mission for the leaders at NBC is just to find ways to slowly grow and not slip back when they have some success.