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What Comcast and NBC Universal bring to the party

October 1, 2009 |  1:22 pm

A combination of NBC Universal and Comcast's cable programming assets would create a juggernaut that would rival Time Warner and Viacom.


Comcast owns or has stakes in about 20 local and national cable networks including E! Entertainment Television, sports channels Versus and the Golf Channel, video game network G4, Major League Baseball's channel and 10 regional sports networks.

General Electric Co.'s NBC Universal has 13 cable networks, the biggest of which are USA, Syfy, CNBC, Bravo, MSNBC and Oxygen.

Though NBC has fewer channels, the ones it does own are powerhouses. According to Kagan Media, an industry consulting firm, USA Network will have operating revenues of $1.4 billion this year and cash flow of $633 million. Its 55-cent per-subscriber fee is one of the highest for an entertainment network. Its hit shows include "Burn Notice" and "Royal Pains."

CNBC is the next biggest cable network with operating revenue expected to hit over $650 million this year and cash flow of almost $360 million. Syfy, according to Kagan, will have revenues of $585.2 million in 2009 and cash flow of $239.5 million. 

At Comcast, E! remains its most successful channel financially, with Kagan estimating that it will have revenues of $430.5 million in 2009 and cash flow of $150.2 million. Versus, which is Comcast's sports network, will have operating revenue of $349.2 million and $419,000 in cash flow.

Comcast's regional sports networks, which include channels in Chicago; Washington, D.C.- Baltimore; New England and Northern California are big revenue generators. Regional sports channels can often command subscriber fees as high as $2 per-subscriber, per-month.

-- Joe Flint

Photo: "Burn Notice" stars Gabrielle Anwar  and Jeffrey Donovan. Credit: USA/Joe Pugliese

Previous Posts:

Comcast wants to be next Liberty Media

Universal Pictures in dark on Comcast talks.

Jeff Zucker tries to calm the troops.

Comcast wants content and NBC U has it.

Vivendi's Levy stays mum on plans for NBC Universal stake

New round of speculation starts on GE's plans for NBC