CFO Michael Angelakis didn’t offer details, but he told investors at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference that Comcast expects Jeff Shell to “change some things” at Universal following his surprise appointment this month to run the studio. It made sense to to take advantage of Shell’s experience running NBCUniversal International because “international is a much bigger component now” for film revenues. That’s important as sales of DVDs have plummeted creating what Angelakis referred to as “structural challenges.” Comcast wants to run “a pretty profitable film studio,” which he says swung from a loss of $70M year-to-date loss last year to a $100M gain so far in 2013. One big question: “How do we build a slate that has a modest risk?” Part of the formula, he says, is to load up on animation, with help from Illumination Entertainment, and sequels.
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