Zucker: NBCU investing more in broadcast programming

Tue, 12/08/2009 - 7:15am
The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) – NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker said Monday the company is putting more money into its network broadcast programming, calling it a "mistake" that it hadn't invested more over the past few years.

Control of the fourth-place NBC network, along with the company's movie studios and stable of cable channels, will change hands from General Electric Co. to Comcast Corp. if the companies' multi-billion-dollar deal goes through.

Speaking Monday at the UBS media conference in New York, Zucker said NBC is confident ratings will improve with more money for developing shows.

But he conceded, "We haven't done a good enough job."

His remarks came as Comcast executives reiterated their commitment to NBC's broadcast business, though Comcast CEO Brian Roberts acknowledged NBC's cable channels are the driving force behind the deal.

Comcast wants to control more of the television shows and movies that it distributes to its subscribers. In a deal announced last week, the company said it will take a 51 percent stake in NBC Universal, with GE retaining 49 percent.

Overall, the cable model has emerged stronger during the recession. The slump in advertising sales has hurt the broadcasters. Cable networks have been able to soften the blow by also drawing fees from cable and satellite providers for carrying the channels.

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