Comcast Will Spend $300M More This Year On NBC Primetime & Cable While Admitting Universal “Has To Make Better Films”

This morning, the top Comcast execs in an earnings conference call admitted to Wall Street that NBCUniversal, which the company just purchased, is a fixer-upper and, in the short term, a money pit. NBCU chief Steve Burke says the company plans to spend $200 million more this year on NBC’s primetime schedule than General Electric did last year when it owned the network. (Burke is looking at 21 pilots, about the same number NBC ordered in 2010.) Comcast considers the turnaround to be a long-term project, but Burke says that simply lifting NBC to third place from fourth would mean “hundreds of millions” in improvement in the company’s cash flow. Meanwhile, Burke also says he plans to spend $100 million more this year on programming NBCU’s cable networks. He expects a “very strong” upfront ad sales season.

As for Universal’s film business, where 1Q revenues and operating cash flow declined, Burke says that “we have to make better films,” although the size of its current slate is “about right.” He attributed some of the woes to the fact that the company had to include a lot of marketing costs for Hop and Fast Five in the latest quarterly report even though most of the revenues from those recently released films will show up on Comcast’s next earnings statement.

Both Burke and Roberts mentioned the “S” word — synergy — which hasn’t been used by Big Media since the days of AOL Time Warner. And we all know how that turned out. (more…)

This article was printed from https://deadline.com/2011/05/comcast-will-spend-300m-more-this-year-on-nbc-primetime-universal-has-to-make-better-films-128382/