Comcast/NBCU

by Alex E. Álvarez, Olivia Maguire and Shruti Marathe
comcast-logo

Comcast Corporation [1]

Comcast Corporation
Comcast Center
1701 JFK Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Company Overview

COMCAST is a global media and technology company composed of four businesses, with COMCAST Cable and NBC Universal being its two primary entities. The cable division is one of the largest in the United States providing video, internet and phone services to individuals and businesses under the XFINITY brand. NBC Universal manages news, entertainment in all its forms and sports, including broadcast and cable networks, television production companies, television station groups, filmed entertainment and Parks and Resorts. Its other two businesses are Spectacor and Ventures focused more on business and management. [2]

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Key Executive: Brian L. Roberts, Chairman and CEO. [3]

New Venture Abroad

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Euronews Logo [4]

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Michael Peters, CEO of Euronews [5]

 

COMCAST is venturing in a new market as it is in talks with European broadcaster, Euronews, to buy a stake in the company. The stake is estimated to be between 15 to 30% of the company, and they aim to find a deal by the end of this year. The branch NBC News is looking to strengthen Euronews’ offerings, but keeping it as a collaborative partnership. This network airs in more than 150 countries and more than ten languages, and it will allow a new visibility for NBC Universal.

Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris pauses during a Bloomberg Television interview in London, U.K., on Thursday, May 24, 2012. Sawiris said he'd be willing to sell his Telekom Austria AG stake to Carlos Slim's America Movil SAB if the Austrian government is uncooperative. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Naguib Sawiris | Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images [6]

Naguib Sawiris, an Egyptian billionaire, holds a 53% stake, and will remain the controlling shareholder.

Furthermore, Euronews has made moves this past year to expand worldwide launching Africanews, a sister channel, in January, a subsidiary in Singapore in October, and some distribution pacts in Latin American in May. CEO, Michael Peters, renovated the identity of Euronews with a new mission statement focused more on a “global experience of news, knowledge and culture”. [7] [8]

The Secret Life of Pets

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The Secret Life of Pets Movie Poster [9]

At the box office, COMCAST’s biggest success was The Secret Life of Pets, which reached third place in movies with highest total gross of all time from Universal Pictures. In 2016, the movie that reached the highest position, besides The Secret Life of Pets, was Jason Bourne, which reached the 31st position of all-time.

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Screenshot from Box Office Mojo [10]

According to Box Office Mojo, the film had a production budget of $75 million, the film made a total gross of $104 million in its first weekend, and it ranked first place for its first two weekends [10].

It was released in more than 4,000 theaters, which shows that it was expected to be a hit. The movie has a total domestic gross of more than $350 million, and more than $500 million in the foreign market adding up to an amount very close to the billion mark. After 21 weekends from its release, The Secret Life of Pets is still in more than a hundred theaters, and making an average of $1,000 per screen. Deadline reported that due to the success in the box office, Universal and Illumination, the production company, set the release date for a sequel in July 13, 2018. [11] Merchandising has also contributed to profits. Comcast has sold Secret Life of Pets themed toys in stores and online.

Harry Potter

Comcast’s deals with the Harry Potter franchise spell success for the conglomerate going forward. Comcast subsidiary Universal Studios holds theme park rights to Harry Potter, and maintains high profit from Harry Potter World in Florida. The newly released motion picture, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, add to the franchise.

Attendance at the parks is expected to increase with new excitement about Harry Potter being generated. Comcast also has the potential to generate greater income in China with the piloting of a Universal Studios resort in Beijing. [12]

Conceptual image of Universal Studios Beijing resort

Comcast’s screening rights to the Harry Potter films is also beneficial. NBC has acquired the rights to screen all eight Harry Potter films and the coming movies of the Fantastic Beasts series. [13] Streaming access includes the cable networks like USA and Syfy.  Such rights will benefit NBC content as a whole as it brings in viewers.

Movie poster for Warner Brother’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. NBC has streaming rights beginning July 2018.

Trouble with the FCC

Comcast received some bad press last month when forced to pay a $2.3 million civil penalty to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). [14] The dollar amount marks the largest FCC fine ever held to a cable operator. Comcast followed through as they were persecuted for charging customers for services and equipment they didn’t order. Over 1,000 customers complained for the charges on the premium channels, DVRs, etc. that they didn’t order. Some customers reported expressly telling Comcast they didn’t want certain services and were still charged. Travis LeBlanc, the chief of the FCC Enforcement Bureau, released a statement saying “”It is basic that a cable bill should include charges only for services and equipment ordered by the customer — nothing more and nothing less.” [15] Comcast worked to remedy the problem.

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Comcast Buys Out Ed Snider

The Comcast Corporation bought the remaining 24% stake in the Comcast Spectacor company, that was owned by Philadelphia Flyers creator, Ed Snider. Ed Snider and his family owned the last 24% of Comcast Spectacor, the overseeing company of the Philadelphia Flyers and the arena in which they play, The Wells Fargo Center, among a few other businesses. This purchase will grant the Comcast Corporation 100% ownership of Comcast Spectacor. The deal was put into motion after Snider died from a terminal illness earlier this year.

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Ed Snider, creator of the Philadelphia Flyers [16]

The purchase includes becoming full time owners of the Philadelphia Flyers hockey team. The Flyers are worth $660 million dollars, according to Forbes, although exact purchasing numbers of the entire buy are not available at this time. Ed Snider was the CEO of Spectacor, which fused in 1996 with Comcast to form Comcast Spectacor; however, at the end of this deal no parts of Ed Snider’s family will have any ownership of any of the Spectacor businesses. [16]

Logo of the Philadelphia Flyers [18]

Logo of the Philadelphia Flyers [18]

Netflix to Xfinity X1

Soon, Netflix will be available on Comcast’s Xfinity X1 devices. This move is said to raise the total number of subscriptions to Netflix in the United States, anywhere from 4 to 5 million more subscribers with the new partnership, according to Cowen & Co. Customers of Comcast’s Xfinity X1 can sign up for Netflix directly through the service with Comcast then directly billing the customers on their Comcast bill for the normal $9.99 Netflix rate. Comcast says that them directly billing for Netflix is as an added benefit to its customers. Details have not been made public but it is circulating that Netflix will only pay a one-time “bounty fee” to Comcast for any new subscribers it gains through the deal. Netflix’s Co-founder says the merge will reduce the annoyance of switching between different cables and plugins and that consumers can access their favorite content without switching from one system to another. [17]

A man scrolls through a selection of viewing choices on the Netflix Inc. application on a tablet device in this arranged photograph in London, U.K., on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016. Netflix Inc., which delivered the best return of any stock in the S&P 500 last year, has ambitious plans for this year so it can produce something new next year: serious profits. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Man carefully selecting which content he wants to view [19]

Sources

[1] Comcast Logo. Image. Corporate Comcast: News + Info. Logo Media Library. Retrieved November 28, 2016. http://corporate.comcast.com/news-information/logo-media-library

[2] Comcast Corporation. Company Overview. Retrieved November 25, 2016. http://corporate.comcast.com/news-information/company-overview

[3] Brian L. Roberts. Image. Corporate Comcast: News + Info. Executive Biographies. Retrieved November 28, 2016. http://corporate.comcast.com/news-information/leadership-overview/brian-l-roberts

[4] Euronews. Image. Retrieved November 28, 2016. http://www.euronews.com/

[5] Michael Peters. Image. Lyon Mag. Retrieved November 25, 2016. https://www.lyonmag.com/article/76248/michal-peters-8220-euronews-doit-se-rinventer-avec-le-numrique-8221

[6] Naguib Sawiris. Image. October 16, 2016. “Naguib Sawiris, Wind Mobile Founder: I Am ‘Finished with Canada'”. Huffington Post. Retrieved November 28, 2016. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/10/16/naguib-sawiris-finished-with-canada_n_4109239.html

[7] Reuters. November 11, 2016. “NBC Universal Is In Talks for a Stake In This European Network”. Fortune. Retrieved November 25, 2016. http://new.fortune.com/2016/11/10/comcast-nbc-news-euronews/

[8] Barraclough, Leo. November 11, 2016. “NBC News, Euronews in Talks for Strategic Partnership”. Variety. Retrieved November 25, 2016. http://variety.com/2016/tv/global/nbc-news-euronews-talks-strategic-partnership-1201915855/

[9] The Secret Life of Pets. Retrieved November 28, 2016. http://www.thesecretlifeofpets.com/

[10] Box Office Mojo: The Secret Life of Pets. Retrieved November 25, 2016. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=main&id=illumination2015.htm

[11] Tartaglioni, Nancy. August 2, 2016. “‘The Secret Life of Pets’ Wags Past $400M Global; Sets Sequel Release Date”. Deadline. Retrieved November 25, 2016. http://deadline.com/2016/08/secret-life-of-pets-crosses-400-million-global-box-office-sequel-release-date-1201797380/

[12] Press, Associated. “Universal Signs Deal for Beijing Theme Park.” The Hollywood Reporter. Web. Retrieved Nov. 29, 2016. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/universal-beijing-theme-park-deal-823339

[13] Smith, Gerry. “NBC Buys Rights to ‘Harry Potter,’ ‘Fantastic Beasts’ Franchises.” Bloomberg.com. Bloomberg. Retrieved Nov. 29, 2016. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-08-08/nbc-buys-rights-to-harry-potter-fantastic-beasts-franchises

[14] Gonzales, Richard. “Comcast Fined $2.3 Million For Improperly Charging Customers.” NPR. NPR, Retrieved Nov. 29, 2016. http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/10/11/497588744/comcast-fined-2-3-million-for-improperly-charging-customers

[15] Wattles, Jackie. “Comcast Hit with FCC’s Biggest Cable Fine Ever.” CNNMoney. Cable News Network, Retrieved Nov. 29, 2016. http://money.cnn.com/2016/10/11/news/companies/comcast-fine-fcc/

[16] Carchidi, Sam. Sept. 23rd, 2016. “Comcast buying remaining Fyers’ shares from Snider’s Estate.” Philly.com. Retrieved Nov. 29, 2016 http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/flyers/20160923_Comcast_buying_remaining_Flyers_shares_from_Snider_s_estate.html

[17] Spangler, Tom. Nov. 4th, 2016. “Netflix Launching on Comcast X1 Next Week, Could Yield Up to 5 Million New Subs.”  Retrieved Nov. 28, 2016 http://variety.com/2016/digital/news/netflix-comcast-x1-launch-1201909773/

[18] Philadelphia Flyers, Image, nhl.com, http://flyers.ice.nhl.com/club/page.htm?id=80263

[19] Shen, Lucinda. Aug. 8, 2016. Image. “The Majority of Netflix Subscribers will be International Within 2 Years” Retrieved Nov. 29, 2016 http://fortune.com/2016/08/23/the-majority-of-netflix-subscribers-will-be-international-within-2-years/

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