Once regulators give the OK, the new Comcast Entertainment Group hopes it will be an advertising sales powerhouse serving every conceivable marketer need. Steve Burke, Comcast Corp. COO, hinted to B&C about what some of the cross-platform sales strategies may look like once the Comcast-NBC Universal transaction is completed, which could happen later this year.
“After the deal closes, we’ll be able to provide advertisers with very attractive packages from national to local, broadcast to cable, and even targeted through Comcast Spotlight that will make it simple for advertisers,” he said in an interview. “There will be opportunities to target in the areas of women’s, sports and entertainment.”
Burke said that a single person would sit atop the sales venture and that advertisers could come in and select what they needed, though he acknowledged that cross-platform sales is a hard slog.
Speaking from the stage at the American Association of Advertising Agencies annual management get-together in San Francisco, Burke added: “One of the things we looked at when we analyzed the deal is our ability to reach women and combine Bravo and Oxygen, E!, Today, iVillage and DailyCandy. The ability to sit with one person and say we can speak for an entire group of assets for women of a certain age, or a certain profile, is unsurpassed.”
Comcast Entertainment Group would house a plethora of media channels, including two broadcast networks, NBC and Telemundo, with a total of 26 owned-and-operated stations. Cable networks will include USA Network, Bravo, Syfy, CNBC, MSNBC, Oxygen, mun2, Chiller, Sleuth and Universal HD, along with Comcast’s E!, Golf Channel, Style, Versus and G4.
Comcast has stakes in 10 regional sports networks; NBCU’s minority positions include a 16% stake in A&E Television Networks, which houses A&E, Biography, History and Lifetime, along with a 25% piece of The Weather Channel. The group’s digital entertainment assets span online video services from Fancast Xfinity TV to Hulu.com, in which NBCU holds a one-third stake. Femme-focused digital sites include iVillage, DailyCandy and Fandango.
The standout asset among them all, however, is no longer the NBC network but USA, which is on track to generate $1.7 billion in revenue in 2010, according to new estimates from Bernstein Research.
But before that happens, NBCU will be out pushing its targeted cross-platform sales and marketing initiatives such as Women At NBCU, Healthy At NBCU and Green Is Universal, just in time for the upfront.
NBCU’s head of women and lifestyle entertainment assets, Lauren Zalaznick, and colleague Maryam Banikarim, senior VP of integrated sales, have been fronting various efforts to highlight NBCU’s collection of assets. In a separate interview with B&C, Zalaznick said: “We pitched NBCU like a shopping mall with anchor brands such as Oxygen and iVillage, The Biggest Loser and the Today show. You can come through the door and get everything you need with very low stress.” Zalaznick added that more emphasis would be put on another intra-company initiative, Healthy At NBCU, in the coming months.
Once the deal closes, Bernstein Research estimates that 23.8% of Comcast’s revenue will be derived from advertising, a jump from its current 6.4%. Total revenue for Comcast Entertainment Group is put at $19 billion for 2010, and net income is estimated at $1.6 billion.
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