Comcast, NBC Universal venture eyes anytime/anywhere content

Execs want to deliver media content to screens large and small

Comcast and General Electric announced a $37 billion joint venture today that combines Comcast's cable programming and online content with NBC Universal's (NBCU) varied businesses, including broadcasting, online content and cable programming.

The deal will be subject to federal regulatory reviews, expected to last at least a year, officials from the companies said in statements and during conference calls.

Comcast will own 51% of the entity, and GE (through its ownership of NBCU) will own 49%. Comcast will manage the venture, once it is approved. Few layoffs are expected as a result of the move. Comcast has about 100,000 workers today; NBCU has approximately 30,000, officials said.

A major focus of the joint venture will be on development and distribution of multiplatform media that can be received anytime and anywhere, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said, though he offered few specifics. He said that NBCU's profitable cable networks will complement Comcast's distribution business and increase Comcast's ability to create content.

"At the same time, it will enhance consumer choice and accelerate the development of new digital products and services," Roberts said in a statement.

The joint venture didn't have an immediate name, but Comcast said it is creating the Comcast Entertainment Group to house its 51% share; It will operate alongside Comcast Cable, operator of the company's traditiona cable business.

Jeff Zucker, the CEO of NBCU, will serve as the CEO of the joint venture and report to Comcast Chief Operating Officer Steve Burke. Zucker noted that the combined entity will be able to develop content that can be viewed on both small and large screens. He called the venture the "start of a new era" as it brings interactive cable television to life, among other projects.

The officials declined to answer specific questions about their plans for emerging models of content distribution. Such models include video over the wireless Internet that could be received by a smartphone or other handheld devices. They did indicate a willingness to consider an array of subscription pricing plans for content, but also said they intend to preserve broadcast television that is ad-supported.

Such a balanced approach is expected to be key to gaining support for the venture from federal regulators.

The parties expect the venture to ultimately win approval from entities including the Federal Communications Commission. Ironically, the morning conference call with reporters was delayed by technical difficulties for about 15 minutes, a problem Roberts blamed on a "certain telecom provider and nobody in this room."

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matt Hamblen

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?