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July 23, 2014

Yup, Comcast now owns NBC

by Brad Trechak, posted Dec 3rd 2009 9:30AM
NBC LogoThe clues were there and now it's official. A press release has been issued confirming Comcast buying a 51% stake in NBCU with GE owning the remaining 49%. Now the fun begins.

The question is: what will Comcast dump and what will they keep? Almost certainly they will keep the cable networks. Will they keep the NBC network itself? NBC is a popular name brand, but the network has been sagging in the ratings to the point where they're trying desperate moves like "Leno at Ten-o" (a phrase that NBC will undoubtedly use soon if they haven't already).

One can hope the Comcast deal will be a boon to NBC and give the network a shot in the arm to produce better television. I remain skeptical. At this stage, it's pretty much a "wait and see" situation.

What do you think is going to happen? Will Comcast's involvement make NBC Universal better or worse?

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Jesus

I agree with Brendan, DISH Network really is the best for TV everywhere. I love my employee Sling adapter, I can watch live and recorded TV on my Android devices everywhere I have 3G coverage or WiFi. That says a lot when you have to be in your house to use Comcast's solution. If you would like to compare different providers to find the one best for you, go to www.besttvforme.com.

June 22 2011 at 12:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brendan

I work for DISH Network, and have been looking online today to see what people are saying about DISH Network vs. Comcast TV Everywhere. Don't see this as much of a competition. Unless you really want to access "on demand" features in the rooms of your house on your iPad, why would you have Comcast TV Everywhere. With DISH network, you can access both live TV and DVR recordings anywhere on your Android, Blackberry, iPad, iPhone or laptop. To me there is a clear winner here. For more information go to dish.com/tveverywhere.

February 15 2011 at 9:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
izikavazo

I know you guys are a TV site, so you're focusing more on the NBC part of this deal, that makes sense. But it seems like everyone else is too. Doesn't anyone seem to notice that Comcast just bought Universal Studios? Surely that's a big deal too, possibly more important. I have no idea what could change at Universal, or whether I care, but someone had to mention it.

December 03 2009 at 3:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ac

How does it affect people that don't have Comcast as their cable provider? That is the question on my mind. I don't want them pulling anything that can affect me having their cable channels. I already lost MSNBC when I switched to Verizon.

December 03 2009 at 12:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Christopher

Will we be charged extra if we watch more than 10 hours of NBC programming?

December 03 2009 at 11:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jon

Comcast does not own NBC yet, maybe not for a year. There's a lot that has to happen first (regulatory approvals, etc.) before change of ownership takes place. For now, it's business as usual.

December 03 2009 at 11:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jake

NBC, schmen-BC (ahem).

I want to know what will happen to Jack Donaghy on 30 Rock! He's a GE man! Will he have to switch to Comcast? Will he be ousted by a Comcast up-and-comer? Will Comcast consent to putting itself into the mix of 30 Rock's meta-parody?

December 03 2009 at 10:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Scott McNulty

Hey all, Scott from Comcast here. I'm the chief blogger at Comcast and thought I would pop in to answer a couple questions.

1. We have no plans to sell NBC. We are proud of both NBC and Telemundo are are committed to providing free, over-the-air television.

2. Hulu will continue to be managed and offered to consumers just as it is. There were some questions about this on an investor call this morning, and ZDNet has a good quote at the bottom of this article: http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=28012&tag=content;wrapper
Here's the quote:

Later in the conference call there was an interesting exchange about TV Everywhere and Hulu. %u201CRight now NBCU is distributing its free broadcast content on Hulu, but has been careful about putting cable content out there,%u201D said Burke, who added that the move made sense. %u201CCable content would go out to TV Everywhere. Hulu and TV Everywhere are ... More do are are committed to providing free, over-the-air television.

2. Hulu will continue to be managed and offered to consumers just as it is. There were some questions about this on an investor call this morning, and ZDNet has a good quote at the bottom of this article: http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=28012&tag=content;wrapper
Here's the quote:

Later in the conference call there was an interesting exchange about TV Everywhere and Hulu. %u201CRight now NBCU is distributing its free broadcast content on Hulu, but has been careful about putting cable content out there,%u201D said Burke, who added that the move made sense. %u201CCable content would go out to TV Everywhere. Hulu and TV Everywhere are complimentary,%u201D said Burke. An executive also noted that Hulu premium wasn%u2019t in the cards.

December 03 2009 at 10:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Scott McNulty's comment
Jake

Scott, thanks for stopping by. That's a helpful statement from Comcast and we appreciate the reassurance.

Now, can we get reassurance about iTunes/Amazon/PSN availability of both broadcast and cable content (NBC, USA, SyFy, etc)?

December 03 2009 at 1:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BDUB

Scott- I am a Comcast customer and I have a question about this merge, it's what is on everyone's mind...What about the best show ever Friday Night Lights which NBC made in conjunction with DirecTV. Will the 4th season still air on NBC?

December 03 2009 at 2:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mj

Poor NBC. I had Comcast cable and internet. I soon switched to Direct TV, but had no choice for high speed. It was out more than it worked, and not just for me. It was out once for seventeen days. I called and I called. The first guy who came out was just stupid. He changed a wire that wasn't attached to anything, and he kicked my cat. I threw him out. The next guy told me how crappy Comcast service was. Uh huh. When it was finally 'fixed,' they told me it was MY fault for calling so much. Luckily, I moved, and now have Brighthouse. They actually know what they are doing. So far.

December 03 2009 at 10:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Leroy

You make it sound as if the SEC, FCC, etc. have already signed off on this deal. They have not, and if we're lucky, they won't.

Currently on Comcast the NBC/Universal channels have terrible reception compared to all others. I can only assume that this has been a sort of blackmail on the part of Comcast to force NBC to sell. This suggests that after the sale, we will get great NBC/Universal reception and everyone else will be shorted on bandwidth. This kind of shenanigan is the reason cable companies and content providers should have a solid firewall between them.

December 03 2009 at 10:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Leroy's comment
Jake

It is not an attempt to blackmail NBC. I am tempted to explain why, but it just seems entirely too silly to have to.

Ok, I can't resist. Short version: (1) NBC/U channels are not bad everywhere (here they are great). (2) Your market (doesn't matter where you are) is not significant enough that bad reception would matter one iota to NBC in their calculus of whether to sell. (3) If the NBC feed is bad, blame either your local NBC affiliate or your local Comcast franchise -- not NBC or Comcast nationally -- because each local cable franchise gets their feed from the local broadcaster, and not from the national network. (4) You might see an improvement in picture quality. But if Comcast were to offer other channels (which are provided by contract, not out of the goodness of Comcast's heart) at reduced comparative quality on purpose, to get you to watch NBC, then they would be flirting with antitrust sanctions and multiple breach of contract suits -- for no obvious benefit (see above, "your market is not significant enough").

December 03 2009 at 1:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Leroy

My market, Houston, is the fourth largest city in the US and a major watcher of TV. It is not insignificant to NBC.

December 03 2009 at 7:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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