As a point of reference, NBC made $120 million in profit during the Olympic games in London in 2012, which included both ad sales and affiliate fees paid by telco providers, and said it expects to pull an even greater profit at the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro.
NBC claims its interactive TV system X1 now has 40% market penetration, and it plans to roll out an Olympics dashboard combining live TV, digital and on-demand content searchable from the X1 remote.
In addition to seasonal ad spend increases due to the Olympics and elections, analysts peppered Comcast and NBC management with questions about internet and TV service Xfinity’s expansion, as well as about its over-the-top TV strategy.
“We’re making sure we’re in every bundle because we have more channels and eyeballs than anyone else,” Burke said. “We do think the vast amount of OTT subscribers will be incremental and additive to NBCUniversal and Comcast as a whole.”
That said, Comcast called the discussions between networks and MVPDs “contentious,” and said it didn’t plan to put all its eggs in a single basket.
Because a bulk of Comcast’s cable net revenue comes from key channels like NBC, Bravo, E and USA, it makes more sense to support those channels as integral parts of external bundles.
“You’ll see us and others continue to trim marginal channels that are not fully distributed,” he said. “You want to put most of your money into your biggest channels. The good news for us, and you’re seeing this with OTT, is if you have NBC you really need to have it in your bundle.”