Thursday, December 3, 2009

NBC To Have A New Owner

Vivendi is out, Comcast is in. "Comcast Corp. agreed to take majority ownership of NBC Universal from General Electric Corp. in a complex deal valued at more than $30 billion, ending the conglomerate's more than two-decade rule over the peacock network and satisfying the cable giant's push to own more content."

I remember when RCA owned NBC and when it was sold to GE, Dave Letterman tried unsuccessfully to deliver a gift basket welcoming his new owners. Not well received by GE but certainly great television. That awkward relationship between the NBC and GE has remained ever since, with creativity often hitting a wall with Six Sigma. So an era is finally ending and another one is poised to begin. Should all the legal issues be resolved, Comcast will be the next owner of NBC.

So what does it mean for the broadcast entity and its library of cable networks? Will Bravo, USA, et al become the favorite kids while NBC, the broadcast channel and its affiliated stations around the country, are treated more as Cinderella was to her step mother? Will they simply be cast aside or embraced? Certainly the NBC Sports entity has value as a competitive product to ESPN, but what of the news division? And how can Comcast the distributor of cable, telco, and hi speed partner with ESPN on one side of its business and compete with them on another? I'm sure Disney-ESPN, Verizon, AT&T, and other companies as well as the FCC will have lots to say about this sale as well.

Change is coming but how it shakes out is far, far from over!

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