Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and NBC Universal chief Jeff Shell attempted once again to throw cold water on deal rumors and speculation that the entertainment business doesn’t have the scale to compete.
“We don’t need M&A,” Roberts said categorically on a call to discuss strong quarterly results driven by broadband and an NBCU recovery — which the execs said back them up.
“I really love the company we’ve got. I can’t imagine, really, a better quarter, an exceptional quarter, and I believe we have much more organic growth ahead. We have a unique company with content and distribution working so well together… We are investing in the business… We like the mix,” Roberts said.
Plans for Amazon to buy MGM and Discovery to merge with WarnerMedia along with what’s perceived as a content arms race in streaming have focused attention on NBCU, ViacomCBS, Lionsgate and smaller independents that have have seen a boom in interest.
He said the company might considers partnerships that would help enhance it’s streaming position. But as for scale “we have all the parts.”
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“If you look at the results of Peacock this quarter, were the fastest growing streaming service [with] a brand that’s only a year old, a new brand… I feel fortunate with our position,” Roberts said.
“Looking forward, we have another Olympics, lots of original programming rolling out over the next year, movies, lots coming directly to Peacock, and eventually we’ll have the Hulu content coming back. Personally, I don’t think we ever lacked the capital we need to grow our business.” The company has in fact started to use its cash to buy back stock.
Shell broke down what scale means for Peacock, the three elements being technology, brand and content, and said Comcast has it covered. An international expansion announced today will see the service rolling out on Sky’s 20 million homes and then across the globe. It’s just at the beginning of its content rollout, he noted, citing. He and Roberts cited F9: The Fast Saga, The Forever Purge and Boss Baby 2: Family Business as well as Peacock original series Dr. Death and the Tokyo Olympics.
He cited last Universal’s recent deal to acquire the rights to the next three Exorcist movies Universal Pictures and NBCUniversal’s streaming service Peacock, in partnership with Blumhouse and Morgan Creek, closed a reported $400 million-plus deal to purchase worldwide rights for a new franchise that will see Ellen Burstyn reprise her role as the mother of a demon-possessed child.
The first film in the new trilogy will be released theatrically in October of 2023. Subsequent installments could premiere on Peacock.
“We got the rights on the strength of the studio, the Blumhouse and horror pedigree. But because we did it with Peacock, we have full optionality to put second and third movies on Peacock and can be flexible. We have the scale across our company to do things like that.”
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