Not Wanting To Kick Someone While They’re Still Down But How Much Worse Can It Now Get For NBC …. ?
From the sublime to the ridiculous but it would appear that things are beginning to get markedly worse for the ‘peacock network’, NBC. What with the failed experiment of ‘The Jay Leno Show’ in an earlier primetime slot of 10.00pm(EST) . Now we’ve found out that in order to appease Jay Leno and the make haste the abrupt departure of Conan O’Brien . We now know that O’Brien will be paid $45 million (of which $12 million will go to his production staff of writers and ancillary workers as severance pay). Nice work if you can get it don’t you think ?
And after the hosting of the Vancouver Olympics, of NBC which is the sole distributor for its content here in the country and will serve as a feeder for nations across the globe. The month of February could become an elephant’s graveyard for the network entirely. NBC Sports President Dick Ebersole , who has overseen the division for close to two decades and has grown accustomed to seeing the vast expansiveness of the task that has to be undertaken to make sure that the coverage is the best possible that it can be. One now has to wonder though whether or not this is still a worthwhile endeavor on the part of the network to begin with ?
Courtesy of The Los Angeles Times
The deal underscores how the high profit-margin business of cable TV has become the financial backbone of media conglomerates.
By Meg James
In a momentous shift in the balance of power of the entertainment industry, cable television giant Comcast Corp. on Thursday made it official by announcing that it was buying control of NBC Universal from General Electric Co.
The proposed $30-billion transaction is the culmination of the longtime ambition by Comcast’s chief executive, Brian Roberts, to transform his family-controlled Philadelphia company from a passel of distribution pipes into a leading producer of movies and TV shows and owner of prominent cable channels.
The deal underscores how the high profit-margin business of cable TV — not a broadcast network or a Hollywood movie studio — has become the financial backbone of media conglomerates.
“Cable channels are the best part of the media business today; they are really the crown jewels of any entertainment company,” Comcast Chief Operating Officer Steve Burke told analysts in a conference call.
Unlike over-the-air broadcast networks, cable channels have two streams of revenue: subscriber fees and advertising. Roberts said that 82% of the operating income of the new entity would come from cable channels. Five of NBC Universal’s cable networks — USA, Syfy, Bravo, CNBC and MSNBC — generate $200 million a year or more each in operating income.
“We are creating a new company with an absolutely first-class set of cable channels,” Roberts said. “This is the logical evolution of our programming strategy.”
If federal regulators approve, a new joint venture would be created by pooling businesses from both companies. Comcast would provide nearly $14 billion in assets, including $6.5 billion in cash, for 51% ownership of the new entity. Comcast said its cable channels — including E, Versus, the Golf Channel and nine regional sports networks — were worth $7.25 billion. Comcast’s subscription cable TV systems would not be part of the new entity.
As part of the deal, GE would reduce its ownership in NBC Universal to 49% in exchange for $9.1 billion, which the new entity would assume as debt.
The Comcast deal marks the end of an era for NBC, which has been one of the brightest bulbs within GE for nearly a quarter-century. Under GE, NBC became a profit- and hit-making machine, inventing the slogan “must-see TV” and fielding such memorable programs as “Cheers,” “Seinfeld,” “Friends,” “Frasier” and “Law & Order.”
In order to read Meg James’ article in its
entirety just click unto the link provided herein
NBC Universal’s parent company , the vast conglomerate, GE has seen fit to divest itself of the network , its film making division, Universal Studios and its similarly named theme parks’ division, Universal Theme Parks. As to what this suggests as to the network and its now moribund state. Well , it’s clear for those who aren’t as such acutely aware business people , the fact of the matter was that GE could no longer to afford to sink large amounts of money into a seemingly bottomless pit and not see anything tangible in return. The buyer of these assets is none other than cable company, Comcast,the nation’s largest cable provider. And the price tag is believe to be $30 billion for the purchase of the media conglomerate.
For its part , Comcast sees the synergy that the purchase gives the company and that the same time not only does it provide the company with another revenue stream but also it can cross market its own content with that of NBC’s network programming but also the network’s own cable outlets such as the USA Network , Oxygen Channel, Syfy , CNBC , Bravo , MSNBC and Spanish language channel Telemundo. Comcast for its part has The Golf Channel, Tru Tv and E Entertainment ! (E Networks) , Style Network , Versus, as well its cable operations and a sports programming cable network that covers the greater Philadelphia area.
Courtesy of The Brownsville Herald Tribune and The Associated Press
By David Bauder , The Associated Press
PASADENA, Calif. — NBC Universal says it expects to lose money televising the Winter Olympics from Vancouver next month.
NBC Sports chief Dick Ebersol said that while advertising sales were soft for much of last year, they have picked up as the Olympics drew near. The loss comes primarily due to the stiff rights fee NBC paid to broadcast the games, he said.
NBC paid $820 million for the rights to televise the Winter Games. That compares to the $613 million paid for the rights to televise the Olympics in Turin, Italy, in 2006.
Ebersol said it will be the first time NBC has lost money on the games since he began producing the telecasts from Barcelona in 1992.
The head of NBC’s parent company, General Electric’s Jeffrey Immelt, told investors recently that he expected NBC would lose “a couple hundred million bucks” on the games.
NBC won’t cut back on its coverage plans due to the financial problems, the network said.
It remains unclear whether this financial reality will affect negotiations for the U.S. rights to televise the Olympics in 2014 and 2016. The International Olympics Committee is expected to award coverage rights sometime this year.
The bidding for those games has the potential to be a battle of media titans, including Fox’s News Corp. and Disney. Ebersol said he expected the games to be awarded before any federal regulatory approval of Comcast’s agreement to take over NBC Universal.
NBC Universal will televise some 835 hours of Olympics programming next month, starting Feb. 12, on the broadcast network and cable affiliates like CNBC, MSNBC and USA. Because the games are not overseas, NBC will have the advantage of many more prime-time events taking place live.
These Olympics also mark the return of Al Michaels to Olympics coverage. The veteran broadcaster, who called the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” game between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, joined NBC from ABC in 2006. Michaels will be a studio host.
In order to read David Bauder’s article in its entirety
just click unto the link provided herein
Comcast’s Chairman & CEO Brian L. Roberts may well make the decision to divest himself as what he sees as none core assets. So it may well be that he could well see fit to sell the theme parks’ division as a way of recouping part of his original investment. But for the moment will assay the situation and sees what best fits his company’s needs. However, Roberts as the owner in waiting , he can’t be entirely happy with what he has seen going on within the corporate headquarters of NBC and the fallout from this disaster concerning Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien. This isn’t certainly the reason he saw fit to purchase this once venerable network. Over the past decade however it has to be said that NBC has its way, footing , hold and once maniacal grip on the network ratings. It is now longer the term they once used so successfully ‘ ………. the station for must see tv’ . If anything that statement is now mute and no longer merited. The network’s programming has become stale and completely devoid of creativity. But it still it harbors itself under the impression that it is still an important part of the television landscape. About the only place where it can perhaps make such a valid statement or claim is when it comes to the coverage of the evening news. There it remains the number one broadcast network for its coverage of the primetime evening news. And for that it should be thankful to its news’ division and the professionalism shown by news’ anchorman, Brian Williams and his presentation of NBC’s Nightly News.
As I alluded to earlier NBC as the sole provider and the very fact that it also holds the North American rights to the broadcasting not only the Summer Olympics but also the Winter Olympics. Its upcoming coverage of the Vancouver Games will be of a great deal of responsibility to the sports’ division of the network and to Dick Ebersole in particular. The network has a great deal riding on its success and also financially. But if the rumors now circulating are to believed then it has to be said that NBC has to rethink its whole focus and thought process as to whether or not such a large investment in manpower and financial resources is still worth it, if there are to be projected losses in the coverage of the games. It has been widely speculated that the network stands to lose in excess of $300 million in the coverage of the Vancouver Winter Olympics. Hardly what one would believe to be a sound investment. But this nonetheless has been the sort of complacency and lack of foresight shown that has led the network to its present predicament and where its said to be hemorrhaging money that is in many respects why GE felt it was no longer a safe bet as ‘a sure fire producer of profits’ that it could rely on ‘to bump up its bottom line’.
Now not only will NBC Universal have to prove that it’s a viable brand to have within Comcast’s umbrella but also that it’s a soundly managed well organized unit. Certainly when a company of this size and nature can afford to lose $200-$250 million almost at the drop off a hat and then try ‘to chalk it up’ it as just being part of ‘the nature of just doing business’ . Then there has to be something wrong with te mindset and the thinking within the boardroom and the management style of that company altogether. And that has nothing to do with the mere fact that this just happens to be company whose parent happens to laden with a multi billion dollar ‘cash war chest’. Seemingly they’re forgetting that they’re just a small unit of the vast conglomerate that makes GE (‘General Electric’).
The struggles of the company notwithstanding, another problem ahead for NBC appears to be with the downturn ‘ad dollars’, in terms of on air advertising and with an even acuter falloff in the network’s viewership. A question that has to be asked is “……..will anyone afford the time to actually take an interest in watching the ‘Winter Olympics’ ? . The network will be devoting almost 835 hours of coverage over a sixteen day period starting on the 12th February with the culmination of the closing ceremony on 28th February 2010. We know that events such figure skating, snowboarding ,alpine skiing , and hockey will no doubt garner a great deal of attention. But it appears that the network is pinning its hopes and its vast resources in the fact the nation will be taking an interest in the event itself. What little advertising that it has done to promote the event has been around such established stars as Apolo Anton Ohno, Lindsey Vonn, Ted Ligety and whatever ice skating stars who happen to be most noted of the moment. Such is the dilemma of the station that it is hard to see how they can cultivate the excitement need to draw enough of an appeal in terms of a viewership response. Outside of the event itself the names of the individuals mentioned here aren’t that well known to the public on a national basis. And whatever hopes that they might have pinned on the homegrown talent of NHL professionals representing Team USA, might as well be pinned on the tail of a pinata and then struck countless times for all of the good that it might do ! Does anyone actually watch live NHL hockey on television anymore ?
As popular as the Olympics and its ideals appear to be . The Winter Olympics are often seen as mundane and uninteresting to begin with. They at times stir up about as much interest as a political debate between two mono-toned personality challenged candidates. So at this juncture all I have to is ‘………. will you be watching NBC’s coverage of the events and how much time if any will you devote watching an event’ ? With things being what they are now at NBC , you might as well be watching paint dry on a wall for all the interest that it would create !
Click here to see the list of US Winter Olympic team members.
Comcast Inc apart from being a cable provider in conjunction with Comcast/Spectacor they are also the co-owners or owners in full of the following professional sports franchises ….the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL’s Philadephia Flyers.
NBC Universal’s problems are synonymous with this now famous O’Jays’ hit from the early seventies ‘For The Love of Money’. There’s nothing wrong in making it but it’s how you go about it and what the end results are, as to how you’ve derived of it that ought to count. Clearly, at NBC that hasn’t been their biggest concern as of late , as they were under the impression that ‘the tap’ wasn’t about to be turned off by GE .