Burke: Olympics Are ‘Catalytic’

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Calling the Games “catalytic” for both the company and its personnel, NBCUniversal
CEO Steve Burke at last month’s media event said the London Olympics will serve
as a “symphony” for “getting 20 cable channels, primetime, news, all different parts
of our company focused on an event like the
Olympics for 17 days.”

Over the period, “we’re going to try to set up
the fall launch on NBC primetime as well as
we can, we’re going to launch the Lorax DVD,
we’re going to launch other things that are going
on in other parts of the company, revitalize
the Today show, so hopefully, getting the entire
company to work together in a way that I think
is unique to NBCUniversal,” he said.

From the Comcast side of the house, Burke
said all of the MSO’s marketing campaigns are
going toward the Games. “There will be a tremendous
amount of video-on-demand programming,
every gold medal during the Olympics
will be on Comcast Video On Demand. A lot of high-speed Internet, connection with
the authenticated and live streaming,” he said. “So, all of the 20-some-odd million video
customers, and the 18-or-so million high-speed data customers are going to get a lot of
Olympics reinforcement, which, in theory, should be very good for Comcast Cable, but
also very good for NBCUniversal and everything we’re doing. “

Burke called the acquisition of the 2014-20 Olympics “a binary moment” for the
company. Looking back to the International Olympic Committee bidding process in
Lausanne, Switzerland, in June 2011, Burke said, “It would have been an awful thing to
come home without the Games.”

He noted that the $4.38 billion that it took to acquire “two quads” was a chance to
get four more Games at roughly the same price as London. Given a chance to amortize
costs over that eight-year span and the continual rise of new technologies, Burke
believes “these properties become more and more valuable in a world that is increasingly
fragmented, and over time, as you get some media infl ation, some other things,
we think we’re going to make money on these Games.”