Comcast CFO: NBC Needs Turnaround Time

by , Sep 20, 2011, 1:21 PM
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The day after NBC had an uninspiring first night of the season, Comcast CFO Michael Angelakis reiterated that the company believes it will take a while for the fourth-place network to move up the charts.

"A multiyear turnaround ... it's going to take time," he said at an investor event, adding that a move simply to third place could offer a significant boost in advertising revenues.

On Monday, NBC finished fourth in the 18-to-49 demo with "The Sing-Off" and debut of drama "The Playboy Club."

Angelakis backed up what NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke said last week: NBC stands to collect enormous revenues from the payments cable and other operators offer in carriage fees. "Retransmission consent is an opportunity for NBC, no doubt about it," he said. "We're happy about that."

It's not all good news for Comcast at large, where its cable operations will wind up paying rights fees to hundreds of stations across the country that are attached to NBC and other networks. In the case of the NBC portion, much of that money will move from one pocket to the other.

Comcast has known that retransmission-consent payments would be growing for several years and is confident it can manage through it, Angelakis said.

Separately, as some worry the ad market could take a dive, he said the Comcast cable side could post about 7.5% growth for its core business -- not including political dollars -- this year. Through the first six months, there was a 6.7% overall gain to $967 million.

Comcast, which has been trying to reverse some customer losses in its video business, has been working to improve customer service and marketing, where it has rolled out its Xfinity brand in about 90% of its footprint. Marketing expenses were up 15.6% to $1.18 billion for the first half of the year.

There is also an effort to upgrade the video product, whether it be through viewing opportunities on iPads or a better user interface.

"The entire experience for our customer in terms of the product has increased substantially over the least three or four years," he said.

1 comment on "Comcast CFO: NBC Needs Turnaround Time".

  1. Mickey Mc from MickeyMc
    commented on: September 21, 2011 at 9:59 a.m.

    The fourth ranked network out of 200! Nice going NBC.

    NBC when put against the totality of all networks probably ranks in the top five, and will be getting substantial sub-fees when compared to "Animal Planet" or "OWN."

    These broadcast properties are still the "sequoia's" in a forest of hundreds of average trees.

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