The coronavirus crisis has postponed the 2020 Olympic Games, a key TV event for NBCUniversal.
The massive NBCUniversal Boston Media Center in Needham, Mass., houses the company’s NBC and Telemundo stations plus regional cable news and sports networks in a new $125 million, 160,000-square foot headquarters. “It’s a complete game-changer,” says one GM of the greenfield build.
KYW-AM and WCAU-WWSI join forces to create what the companies call the region’s “largest and most experienced broadcast news and weather team.”
Four years after it launches, first to some Comcast subscribers in April and then nationally by July, the service will be bringing in $2.5 billion in revenue and breaking even. There will be 30 million to 35 million “active users” by that point, the company said.
Eight months before the start of the Toyko Summer Olympics, NBCUniversal says it has pulled more than $1 billion in national TV ad revenues — a double-digit percentage gain vs. the same time period prior to the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics. Dan Lovinger, executive vp of ad sales, NBC Sports Group, says about half of the Toyko Olympic advertisers are new marketers.
As EVP of ad platforms and operations, Ryan McConville will lead a team dedicated to cross-portfolio advertising technology and platform solutions to improve the commercial experience and drive impact for brands.
Less than a week before Comcast and Department of Justice lawyers will face off against Byron Allen in the Supreme Court in the Entertainment Studios boss’ $20 billion discrimination lawsuit against the NBCUniverisal owner, Rep. Bobby Rush now wants the telecommunications giant brought down to size.
“There is no additional investigation being launched,” a spokesperson says. “We are very confident in the report that was conducted.”
U.S. Olympics rightsholder NBCUniversal has reach as agreement with Twitter by which the social media giant will show limited live event coverage of the Tokyo games next year along with highlights and a daily show. While the overwhelming majority of the thousands of hours of Olympic coverage will remain on NBC’s TV and digital streaming platforms, the deal is the furthest the company has gone in letting some live video leave its ecosystem.
Speaking on parent Comcast’s earnings call, NBCU CEO Steve Burke said the company finished upfront selling across all its broadcast and cable nets with volume up 10% to $7 billion and price increases of 9%. Prices for spots in NBC primetime shows like This is Us were up 14%. Cable network also saw double-digit pricing growth, he said.
Aside from the April timeline and the number of staffers “hard at work” on the initiative (500), NBCU CEO Steve Burke didn’t offer other details this morning during analyst call on parent Comcast’s earnings. “We believe we’ve got some ideas that we think are innovative,” he said, citing “for competitive reasons” for his lack of specifics. NBCU’s ad-supported streaming service will hit the market just after Disney and Apple roll out theirs. WarnerMedia is also targeting next spring for its entry into the crowded field.
Growth in high-speed broadband customers (plus 209,000) 0ffset losses in cable TV subscribers (minus 224,000) and contributed to a spike in profits (69 cents to 78 cents per share), the company reported this morning. Revenue came in at $26.9 billion. Revenue at the NBCUniversal unit, which includes NBC and cable programming, totaled $8.2 billion, flat from a year ago.
Dan Lovinger, EVP at the NBC Sports Group, said sales for the Tokyo game are pacing “significantly ahead” of those for the Rio games in 2016. “In a world where media fragmentation is common, there are very few places to go for massive scale, reach and message memorability,” he said.
The NBC cult favorite will leave Netflix when its current deal with the streamer expires at the end of 2020. NBCUniversal’s forthcoming direct-to-consumer platform will then be the exclusive streaming home for all nine seasons of the comedy starting in 2021.
On Wednesday, a songwriting team filed a lawsuit in Manhattan federal court against singer Carrie Underwood, the NFL and NBC, saying they stole a song and used it to introduce Sunday Night Football during the 2018-19 season.
NBCUniversal’s Telemundo station and cable networks have been blacked out to Liberty Cablevision’s Puerto Rico subscribers in a carriage fee dispute. The agreement was set to expire at the end of 2019, but the pact included an opt-out clause, effective March 31. A deal appeared to be close, but fell through, NBCU said.
NBCUniversal has begun warning viewers in Puerto Rico that subscribers of Liberty Cablevision might lose access to the local Telemundo station and NBC’s cable networks at 6 p.m. ET Thursday.
Steve Harvey, TV personality and multi-hyphenate entertainer/entrepreneur, admitted that he was surprised when NBC announced that a new show hosted by Kelly Clarkson would take over his timeslot on its owned-and-operated stations.
NBCU plans in early 2019 to unveil a new offering that places commercials in reruns, movies and syndicated programs containing segments that align with the mission or topic of the ads. The technology represents the latest attempt by NBCU to wring more dollars from certain kinds of TV advertising inventory previously seen as less desirable by Madison Avenue.
Linda Yaccarino, chairman of NBCUniversal Ad Sales and Client Partnerships, says she plans to further cut back on the commercial loads on the company’s TV networks and will air its new short, one-minute Prime Pods in more shows this year.
The idea behind WatchBack is for the media giant to learn about consumption habits, data that is often not available to NBC when someone watches a show on linear television.
Target has signed on as a launch partner for NBCUniversal’s self-serve programmatic linear TV offering. The deal, which the companies say is the first of its kind, will give Target access to NBCU’s entire linear TV inventory for audience targeting by the retail store chain.
It’s only 287 days until the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics, but nearly 100 of the U.S. team’s top athletes have assembled this week at a Los Angeles production facility. Welcome to “WeHo,” the conglomerate’s hush-hush weeklong event that brought together 96 top athletes — 10 months before the 2018 Winter Games.
Comcast is developing an online video service offering hit shows from its NBCUniversal TV networks in the next 12 to 18 months, an effort to compete with rivals Netflix and CBS, according to people familiar with the matter. The new service will include programs from the NBC broadcast network, and could include shows from Comcast cable channels Bravo, SyFy and USA.
Ahead of this year’s upfront marketplace for ad time in the next TV season, NBCUniversal is expanding the amount of inventory it would sell based on data other than traditional Nielsen demographics guarantees, more than doubling the business it conducted that way last year.
Streaming video services such as DirecTV Now may have “scary implications” for some programmers, who could see some channels left behind, and operators, who might lose subscribers. But they shouldn’t take a big bite out of Comcast, says CEO Brian Roberts. “Our view was that scale matters,” he says. “When we just owned E! and Golf Channel and Comcast SportsNet, it wasn’t enough. Now we have MSNBC, CNBC, USA, Syfy, Bravo — that’s a hell of a footprint.”
Programming will go uninterrupted for NBCUniversal programming, including Telemundo, Bravo, E!, Syfy, USA, MSNBC, CNBC and Oxygen.
At 3 a.m. on Sunday, NBC will flip the switch on WBTS, “NBC Boston,” its newest O&O that will broadcast via a patchwork quilt of signals from three stations serving the nation’s ninth-largest TV market. NBC has been planning to shift the affiliation in Boston from its 22-year incumbent, Sunbeam Television-owned WHDH, to the new station for the past year.
NBC Universal has sent a letter to Nielsen expressing concern over its Total Content Ratings product and asking the media measurement giant to delay its introduction. In a letter obtained by Ad Age, Linda Yaccarino, chairman-advertising sales and client partnerships at NBCU, said that the Total Content Ratings product in its current form “lacks the consistency and transparency the marketplace demands and expects from Nielsen” and is not ready to be released.
On Thursday, Ron Lamprecht, NBCU EVP of business development and digital distribution, detailed NBC’s recent efforts around digital, including work with Snapchat and investments in BuzzFeed and Vox. In particular, Lamprecht discussed Snapchat and how, while monetization on the platform remains a challenge, NBC is benefiting from its work with the ephemeral social media service so far.
The NBCU-Verizon livestream on YouTube, to be hosted by Marlon Wayans and Olivia Culpo, will offer a 360 view of the iconic New York Turkey Day event.
Earlier reports that NBCUniversal had invested a second $200 million in BuzzFeed after an initial $200 million investment are true, NBCU confirmed today. With the new funding, the companies will extend their ad sales relationship and collaborate on the branded content front,.
NBCUniversal has struck a deal to start selling advertising across Apple News in 2017 as Apple steps off sales itself and tries to find a footing for the app. Individual publishers can still sell ads that run alongside their own content, and NBCU won’t get access to any Apple data through the deal.
A year after making a major investment in BuzzFeed, NBCUniversal is doing it again. Sources say Comcast’s TV and movie arm is finalizing a deal that will put around $200 million into the digital publisher, at a valuation of around $1.7 billion. Those are roughly the same numbers NBCU used last year, when it first invested in BuzzFeed — except that deal gave BuzzFeed a post-money valuation of $1.5 billion.
Google’s planned Unplugged live streaming service appears to be homing in on carriage deals with all of the major broadcast network owners following the agreement with CBS that surfaced yesterday. That includes Comcast’s NBCUniversal which is in advanced conversations to include NBC, Telemundo and many if not all of its cable networks on the Google service, according to sources.