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Burke: We Don’t Need to Bulk Up in Content - Broadcasting & Cable

Burke: We Don’t Need to Bulk Up in Content

Takes wait-and-see position on industry’s ad market weakness
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NBCU CEO Steve Burke said Comcast doesn’t need to add content assets.

Asked during Tuesday's earnings conference call about the programming consolidation trend sparked by 21st Century Fox’s bid for Time Warner, Burke said “we certainly don’t feel we have to bulk up in content.”

Burke noted that NBCU sold its content assets as a bundle during the upfront, and that contributed to the company’s positive results in the ad market. He said NBCU had a 10% increase in the upfront at a time when the overall market was down 5%

That 15% difference amounted to a $750 million swing in revenues he said, and helped to make up about half of the gap between what NBUC’s broadcast and cable properties earn compared to its competitors.

Burke said NBCU thought that a shift to digital advertising accounted for less than half of the the decline in the overall upfront advertising market.

“There is some shift to digital. We don’t think that’s the majority,” he said. The bigger reason was that “a broad array of advertisers and their agencies decided to be less aggressive in the upfront and they will show up in scatter.”

“If the scatter market is strong, it will be a good year for advertising,” Burke said. “We’ll see what happens as the calendar and broadcast season play out.”

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