Comcast's New Unit for News Properties
According to a Wall Street Journal article, Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) created a new unit to hold the news outlets at the company's majority owned NBCUniversal. The company also headed a veteran executive to run the unit.
The new unit will include NBC News, CNBC, MSNBC, and the Weather Channel. The new sector will be ran by the Executive Vice President at NBCUniversal, Pat Fili-Krushel. The new division will still be reporting to NBCUniversal Chief Executive Steve Burke.
On January 26, 2001, Comcast and General Electric (NYSE: GE) announced that they created the joint venture of NBCUniversal. Under the terms, GE provided its cable networks, filmed entertainment, television entertainment and theme parks. Comcast provided its cable networks, some digital properties, and a payment to GE. Under the agreement, Comcast owns 51 percent of the NBCUniversal and GE owns 49 percent.
After the joint venture, Comcast Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Brian L. Roberts said, “This transaction brings together the rich traditions of some of the world's most well known and respected entertainment, news and sports brands at NBCUniversal with the technology and consumer reach of Comcast, creating the ideal entertainment and distribution company. We are very appreciative of all of the hard work that Jeff Immelt and his team at GE put into this transaction over the past year and are thrilled to have the highly talented team at NBCUniversal be a part of the Comcast family.”
Since the joint venture, Comcast has tried to organize NBCUniversal in a smoother and more systematic way. Comcast created a new division called NBC Sports after the venture. This move combined Comcast's sports networks with NBC's sports networks.
NBCUniversal's television sector is composed of more than 200 affiliate stations across the United States. The sports and news channels have created separate broadcast divisions, but the entertainment channels have not. These networks include A&E Television, Bravo, E!, G4, Oxygen Media, and USA Network. Could these channels be organized into a division next?
NBCUniversal's attempt to coordinate between different news channels comes right before the London Olympics. This newly formed division could lead to a more enjoyable viewing experience for its customers. Also, it could allow NBCUniversal to air different games on several of its networks.
Comcast could have added new customers in the last week, due to a dispute between DirecTV (NYSE: DTV) and Viacom (NASDAQ: VIA)(NASDAQ: VIAB). Viacom pulled 17 channels off of DirecTV's network because DirecTV would not sign a new contract that would raise its rates by 30%. The companies announced today that they have resolved the dispute.
Year-to-date, Comcast is up about 36 percent.
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