Zucker: Comcast Integration Top Priority


With the approval process of its joint venture with Comcast nearing the finish line, NBC Universal president and CEO Jeff Zucker said that integrating its programming assets with the Philadelphia based MSOs is the top priority.
"The biggest challenge will be to fully integrate Comcast [programming networks] into NBCU," Zucker said at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference Wednesday. "Getting it right is key to our success."
After regulatory approval, expected by the end of the year, the JV will consist of NBCU cable channels (Bravo, USA Network, Syfy, CNBC, MSNBC, The Weather Channel), the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, 26 television stations and the Universal Pictures movie studio and Comcast's own cable channels (E!, Versus, Golf Channel, regional sports networks, Style and others).
Zucker said that the turnaround of the NBC broadcast network -- which has fallen from No. 1 to No. 4 over the past several years -- is beginning and pointed to the strong ratings performance of new NBC show The Event. But Zucker added that core strength of the programming giant remains in cable.
"Our heart and soul are cable networks," Zucker said, adding that NBCU derives about 80% of its operating cash flow from cable.
Zucker also commented on online ventures -- he said that its participation in Hulu was originally to combat piracy of its content online and added that it is unlikely that NBC content will find its way to Apple TV, the computer giants content endeavor because he feels the 99 cent price point is too low.,
Zucker, famous for claiming that online video was akin to exchanging analog dollars for digital dimes a few years ago, has since upped his estimates to digital quarters.
"I still think we're a little bit stuck at digital quarters," Zucker said, adding that over the next two to three years, the goal of content providers should be to increase that to "50-cent pieces."