by Zach Eisen
NBCUniversal Media, LLC
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10112
About the Company :
NBCUniversal is a major media company owned by the Comcast Corporation. With headquarters in world-famous Rockefeller Center, NBCU owns and operates a variety of media outlets across many different platforms, including broadcast and cable television, film, and digital media. NBCU’s content is distributed around the world.
NBCUniversal has a variety of holdings in both broadcast and cable television. It owns the NBC broadcast network and the Telemundo network, airing popular programs such as NBC Nightly News, Today, Saturday Night Live, and The Office. NBC also owns and operates TV stations in some of the largest markets in the country, including New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. NBCU’s cable holdings include the NBC Sports Network, MSNBC, CNBC, USA, E!, Bravo, and The Weather Channel. NBC also owns the broadcast rights to the Olympics, NHL and NFL games, and many other major sporting events.
NBCU owns Universal Pictures, one of the Big Six major film companies. Universal is famous for movies such as E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Jurassic Park, Jaws, and the Bourne series . The company also owns Focus Features, which is Universal’s art, foreign, and independent film division. NBCU also owns Universal Parks and Resorts, with full ownership of the parks in Los Angeles and Orlando and part ownership of locations in Japan and Singapore.
Key Executives :
Stephen B. Burke – CEO, NBCUniversal
Stuart J. Epstein – Executive VP and CFO, NBCUniversal
Robert Greenblatt – Chairman, NBC Entertainment
Brian Roberts – Chairman and CEO, Comcast Corporation
For more information on NBCUniversal’s executives, click here.
In the broadcast television market, NBC’s main competitors are the other Big Four major networks, which are ABC, CBS, and FOX. However, cable viewership is quickly growing, which means NBC also competes with basically every television station for viewers and advertising dollars.
Ownership History :
NBCUniversal was officially founded in 2004, when NBC and Universal merged into one company. At the time of the merger, Vivendi and GE shared ownership of the company. In 2009, GE and Comcast announced plans to create a joint venture out of NBCUniversal’s companies and Comcast’s cable holdings. The plan was finalized in early 2011, with Comcast taking a majority stake in the company. In early 2013, Comcast announced it would buy GE’s 49% minority stake, a $16.7 billion deal which allowed them to assume 100% ownership of NBCUniversal .
Financial Information :
2012 was a successful year for NBCUniversal across the board. The company earned $23.8 billion in total revenue, an increase of nearly $2.7 billion, or 12.7%, from 2011. NBCU’s revenue in all four of its divisions (Broadcast Networks, Cable Networks, Film, and Theme Parks) saw increases in 2012.
The largest gains were made in the Broadcast Television division, which jumped 27.4% from the previous year. The broadcast numbers were aided by the network’s airing of the 2012 London Olympics and Super Bowl XLVI. Excluding these events from the numbers, the Broadcast division’s revenue still saw a 4.8% increase, driven by political advertisements on its Owned & Operated stations. The increased revenue from the political ads also helps explain the Broadcast division’s 7.9% increase in the fourth quarter of 2012 from the same period in 2011.
NBCU’s Cable Networks division accounted for the company’s smallest increases in 2012 (3.3%), but generated the most revenue for the company ($8.8 billion). The NHL lockout hurt ratings for the NBC Sports Network during that time, which boasts NHL coverage as its key selling point. However, ratings for that network reached all-time highs once hockey returned . Advertising revenue decreased by 1.5% in the fourth quarter for NBC’s cable networks.
• GOODBYE, GE
On March 19, Comcast completed its purchase of GE’s 49% stake in NBCUniversal . The $16.7 billion deal also included the sale of GE’s headquarters at the famous 30 Rockefeller Plaza building to Comcast. The deal brings to an end GE’s involvement with NBC, which began in 1919 when the company helped found the Radio Corporation of America, which started the National Broadcasting Company in 1926 . Since then, NBC has been owned by GE, RCA, Westinghouse, Vivendi and now Comcast. Watch Wall Street Journal Live’s analysis of the deal below (video courtesy of YouTube).
For the first time ever, NBC fell out of the top four networks during a sweeps period conducted by Nielsen . Univision, the Spanish language network, moved ahead of NBC as the fourth most watched network among adults ages 18-49 during the month of February. NBC struggled during that month, as its new show Do No Harm was cancelled after just two episodes, and the new comedy 1600 Penn struggled as well .
• THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH…
…Jimmy Fallon? NBC announced in April that the Late Night host will replace Jay Leno on The Tonight Show starting in 2014 . Leno, who has hosted The Tonight Show for 22 years, took over for Johnny Carson in 1992. Leno was replaced by Conan O’Brien in 2009 , but returned only seven months later  after a feud with the network over a time for his new show. It is being rumored that Saturday Night Live head writer and “Weekend Update” host Seth Meyers will replace Fallon as host of Late Night.
NBCU’s USA Network earned the best primetime ratings for a cable network in the first quarter of 2013, its eighth year in a row earning that honor . Popular programs such as Suits and WWE Raw helped the network win the quarter, defeating rivals with popular programs such as AMC and its hit The Walking Dead. USA averaged over 3 million viewers during the primetime slots. Another NBCU network, Bravo, also improved, making the top ten networks among viewers ages 25-54.
• NHL COVERAGE SCORES FOR NBC SPORTS NETWORK
The NBC Sports Network is posting record numbers this year for its NHL coverage . The network, formerly Comcast’s Versus, is averaging 448,000 viewers per game, up from its previous high of 348,000 viewers. The numbers may have gotten a boost because of the lockout that cut the season down to 48 games. National games airing on NBC’s broadcast network are also doing better, averaging 1.7 million viewers,just ahead of its previous tally of 1.6 million.
• ‘THE VOICE’ NEARS IN ON ‘IDOL’
The popular singing competition show, The Voice, has returned to NBC’s lineup, and has outperformed FOX’s American Idol so far . Although Idol‘s first two episodes earned stronger ratings than The Voice‘s, NBC’s program is gaining momentum, while FOX’s is seeing its lowest ratings in the 12-year history of the show. The show’s performance in the ratings for the remainder of the season may tell whether it will replace Idol as America’s favorite singing show.
• USING THE SECOND SCREEN
In March, USA allowed fans of its series Psych to choose the ending of the show’s 100th episode . The vote was part of a new online and mobile feature called USA Sync, an attempt by the network to use new media to add interactivity to its programming . The program allows fans to post about the shows, connect with each other, and play interactive games. On the mobile platform, the service is available as an app that gives users access to more content through other applications.
• A DELICIOUS PREMIERE
The much anticipated new series Hannibal premiered on NBC on April 4. The series, about fictional evil genius Hannibal Lecter, serves as a prequel to the 1991 classic film The Silence of the Lambs. The show earned praise from Internet critics, with some calling it “riveting” , and others saying it was “beautifully shot and…surprisingly thoughtful” . Watch a promo for Hannibal below (video courtesy of YouTube).
• FOR E!, OLDE IS NEW
In March, E! named former VH1 executive Jeff Olde head of its programming . Olde will be in charge of the development of E!’s shows, including Keeping Up With The Kardashians, The Soup, and Chelsea Lately. Olde will begin his new job this summer.