Originally published: October 4, 2009
Last updated: October 4, 2009 - 8:58pm
Bucking current media industry trends, big cable operator Comcast wants to become a more vertical media company -- by buying NBC Universal's high-profile programming/content -- to avoid being just a "dumb" pipe, according to Richard Greenfield, co-head of Pali Research for media and cable systems equities. He says that Comcast "wants to have a seat at both ends of the negotiating table." He says this is especially true considering the threat of anyone with a HD video camera creating content and distributing it globally on the Internet for free. The result of the big media deal would significantly change many existing businesses between the two companies -- especially new digital efforts. For example, while Comcast has pushed its video on-demand service for years, Greenfield says VOD is no match for Hulu.com and other content that is more easily delivered through Net protocols. The downside: Greenfield believes Comcast will take content off Hulu and put it on Fancast.com, part of its "TV Everywhere" effort. In essence, the free site would be transformed into a pay-site for non-Comcast video consumers. The upside: big-time benefits will exist for Comcast's own media channel assets: networks such as E!, Versus, G4, Golf Channel, Style, etc. NBC big marketing machine, as well its cable networks (USA Network, Bravo, Syfy, Oxygen), will only improve the financial performance of Comcast's cable networks. Greenfield beliefs the deal is just the beginning. He predicts that General Electric will continue to sell off more of NBC Universal, and Comcast will be the buyer. Which won't be good news for Comcast shareholders.
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