Comcast “Exploring” Launch Of Sky-NBC News Network Later This Year

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Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said the company is “exploring” the launch of a global news channel co-branded with NBC and Sky by the end of 2019.

“We look at this as a way to grow our company and power our company for decades to come,” Burke said during a conference call with analysts to discuss the company’s first-quarter results.

The offering is likely to be ad-supported given the company’s strategic push in that direction, but executives offered no specifics about the Sky-NBC concept during the hourlong call.

Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch did not speak directly to the news venture with NBC but responded to analysts’ questions about Sky’s prospects given the entry of competitors like Disney and presumably WarnerMedia in Europe. Comcast acquired Sky for $40 billion last year, outbidding Fox, which had owned a large part of Sky for three decades.

The influx of new competitors will be “disruptive to an extent,” Darroch said, “but we’ll be in a good place to navigate and continue to thrive in that market.” He added, “I feel good about our position. … I don’t think any business in Europe can reach as many customers through their platform as we can and we’ve got really strong market positions.”

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, NBCUniversal Chief Steve Burke Weigh In On Streaming And Hulu Stake

While Comcast beat Wall Street estimates for profit, it fell a bit short on revenue. Part of the shortfall was due to comparisons with the year-ago quarter, when the Winter Olympics and Super Bowl LII filled NBCUniversal’s coffers, but Sky also had a bit of softness. It saw revenue decrease 5% due to currency impacts, while EBITDA slid 11% due to outlays for soccer rights in Italy and Germany.

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