OnScreen Media Summit: Chase Carey: News Corp. "Not Actively Engaged" in NBC Universal Pursuit
Addresses Comcast's courting of the company, rights to 2014 and 2016 Olympic games
By Alex Weprin -- Broadcasting & Cable, 10/21/2009 9:45:57 AM
News Corp. President and COO Chase Carey says that his company is "not actively engaged" in talks with General Electric about acquiring a stake in NBC Universal, but that "any time you have something of this size and scope going on you're not doing your job if you're not thinking about it."
Carey made the remarks at the 2nd annual Broadcasting & Cable/Multichannel News OnScreen Media Summit in New York Oct. 21.
"I think they are great assets, a unique set of assets," Carey said. "The cable channels are obviously the heart of it, they are run really nicely. A group of channels like that doesn't come along very often. It is truly unique set of businesses, and something that clearly caught the interest of Comcast."
Speaking of Comcast's courting of the company, Carey added that he believed that, "There's a decent chance it will come to fruition."
He echoed a similar sentiment when asked about the possibility of News Corp. bidding on the 2014 and 2016 Olympic games, the rights to which will be up soon.
"We aren't doing our job if we are not evaluating big franchises like that," Carey said, adding that News Corp. has been a bidder for past games.
Carey said that the broadcast business could not survive on only an ad-supported basis, and that they need to be more aggressive in seeking retransmission fees from cable and satellite operators.
"It is not rocket science, it starts with making it a dual revenue businesses, " he said. "It doesn't make sense that broadcast is only ad-supported. A network like Fox sits there with truly the best programming in sports and entertainment, we need to move that business to a place where we are getting fair value."
With regards to Hulu, Carey said he hopes that it will move to a subscription model, though News Corp. would have to work with its partners, NBC Universal and Disney, in order to make that happen.
"I think a free model is a very difficult way to capture the value of our content. I think what we need to do is deliver that content to consumers in a way where they will appreciate the value," Carey said. "Hulu concurs with that, it needs to evolve to have a meaningful subscription model as part of its business."
I think Hulu has done a fabulous job of building a market leading website to find content, but we need to grow with it," he added.
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