Proclaiming to an audience of industry professionals that NBC Universal is in fact a cable company, CEO Jeff Zucker said that the strong performance of cable properties like USA Network, Sci Fi Channel (soon to be renamed SyFy), Bravo, Oxygen, CNBC and MSNBC in 2008 is expected to continue, despite the economic climate.
“We are, first and foremost, a cable-network company,” Zucker said at the McGraw-Hill Media Summit here last week. “People are confused by that because the first three initials of the name of our company are NBC. But the fact is, our cable portfolio is second to none, and responsible for 60% of our operating profit.”
Zucker said that growth isn't limited to one hit network or hit show — across the board, cable is outpacing the competition.
“Every one of our networks is in a tremendous zone right now, and a trajectory that is outperforming the market,” Zucker added.
That includes CNBC, which has come under fire from Jon Stewart, host of Comedy Central's The Daily Show, in the past few weeks.
Zucker added that the traditional falloff in ratings at the business channel that usually comes during down periods in the market hasn't occurred because viewers are hungry for information about the economy. “This is not a down market, this is a change of the structure of investing and Wall Street,” Zucker said.”
Aside from CNBC, all of NBCU's other cable properties had strong years in 2008 and this year “is on target to be the same story,” he said.