Comcast CEO Brian Roberts Sees Summer Olympics A ‘How, Not If’; Upbeat On Theme Parks, Notes ‘A Lot Of Cash From Hulu Coming Our Way’

Brian Roberts
Associated Press

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts says the will-they-won’t-they Tokyo Summer Olympic Games “are getting past the point of ‘if’.”

“It’s about exactly how it gets done,” live spectators, etc… “I am very hopeful. In my conversations with leadership. There is an excitement. This is a perfect moment for the world to come together.” The rollout of Covid-19 vaccinee has tilted the balance for the event, which will be followed about seven months later by the Winter Games in Beijing — a bonanza for streaming service Peacock.

In a wide ranging Q&A Wednesday at a virtual media conference hosted by Morgan Stanley, Roberts touted Peacock, which had 33 million subscribers at last count, and Comcast’s ability to monetize its stake in Hulu and to take back content from the service that is now controlled by Disney.

“We own a third of Hulu and that has been a tremendous company, and we have an exit opportunity in a couple of years and that is creating real value for shareholders that may not be reflected in our stock. But the opportunity to get a lot of cash from Hulu is coming our way, and to redeploy the content from Hulu,” he said.

On the omnipresent windows debate, he said, “I think the model appears to be changing. Jeff Shell has done a great job… the Universal film division went and restructured our deals with exhibition and as we come of out of Covid this summer you will see a hybrid model where consumers will consume at home and take advantage of the streaming boxes we put in their homes. But at the same time” when theaters reopen, people will be eager  to get back.

Theme parks present one of the greatest areas of growth with “nowhere to go but up” post Covid, he said,

Roberts said the company has been investing heavily in parks and hotels ticking off a few highlights, including announcing that construction has resumed on Universal Orlando’s fourth park, Epic Universe. He waxed enthusiastic about Super Nintendo Word at Universal Japan, in Osaka, and the coming opening of Universal Studios Beijing, “which will be the newest and perhaps finest theme park Universal has ever built.” The Jurassic World VelociCoaster rollercoaster in Orlando will be completed this summer.

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