NBCUniversal Media, LLC is an American worldwide mass media conglomerate owned by Comcast and headquartered at Rockefeller Plaza's Comcast Building in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. It is one of two successor companies to MCA Inc., the other being Vivendi through its subsidiary Universal Music Group.
NBCUniversal's headquarters at Comcast Building
|NBC Universal, Inc (2004-2011)|
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, New York 10112
|Revenue||US$32.997 billion (2017)|
|US$4,530 billion (2017)|
|US$2.56 billion (2017)|
|Total assets||US$69.3 billion (2017)|
|Total equity||US$69.3 billion (2017)|
Number of employees
|Divisions||NBCUniversal Television Group|
NBCUniversal News Group
NBC Sports Group
Universal Parks & Resorts
NBCUniversal is primarily involved in the media and entertainment industry; among its most significant divisions are the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), one of the United States' "Big Three" television networks, and the film studio Universal Pictures. It also has a significant presence in broadcasting through a portfolio of domestic and international properties, including terrestrial and pay television outlets. Via its Universal Parks & Resorts division, NBCUniversal is also the third-largest operator of amusement parks in the world.
NBCUniversal was formed in 2004 with the merger of General Electric's NBC with Vivendi Universal's film and television subsidiary Vivendi Universal Entertainment, after GE had acquired 80% of the subsidiary, giving Vivendi a 20% share of the new company. In 2011, Comcast attained 51% and thereby the control of newly reformed NBCUniversal, by purchasing shares from GE, while GE bought out Vivendi. Since 2013, the company is wholly owned by Comcast, which bought GE's ownership stake.
NBC and Universal Television had a partnership dating back to 1950, when Universal Television's earliest ancestor, Revue Studios, produced a number of shows for NBC (although they would have some hits on the other networks as well). This partnership continued throughout a number of name changes and changes of ownership.
NBC Universal Television has its modern roots in a series of expansions undertaken by NBC. In the late 1980s, NBC began pursuing a strategy of diversification, including the formation of two NBC-owned cable-television networks: CNBC and America's Talking. NBC also had partial ownership of several regional sports channels and other cable channels such as American Movie Classics and Court TV (until 2007).
In 1995, NBC began operating NBC Desktop Video, a financial news service that delivered live video to personal computers. The following year, NBC announced an agreement with Microsoft to create an all-news cable television channel, MSNBC (using its subscriber base from America's Talking network). A separate joint venture with Microsoft included establishing a news website, MSNBC.com (now NBCNews.com).
In 1998, NBC partnered with Dow Jones & Co. The two companies combined their financial news channels outside the US. The new networks included NBC Europe, CNBC Europe, NBC Asia, CNBC Asia, NBC Africa, and CNBC Africa.
Combining with UniversalEdit
In 2003, amid a major financial crisis caused by over-expansion, Universal Studios' parent company, Vivendi Universal Entertainment (a division of the French company Vivendi Universal, now Vivendi), decided to sell an 80% stake to NBC's parent company, General Electric. The sale and resulting merger formed NBC Universal. The new company was 80% owned by GE, and 20% owned by Vivendi. The joint venture encompassed Vivendi's US film interests (such as Universal Studios), production and distribution units, as well as five theme parks, cable television channels including USA Network, Sci-Fi Channel, the defunct Trio, Cloo (formerly Sleuth), as well as 50% stakes in Canal+ and StudioCanal (with Vivendi owning the rest). Universal Music Group was not included in the deal and is not part of NBC Universal.
On August 2, 2004, the television divisions of NBC and Universal Television were combined to form NBC Universal Television. NBC Studios series bought into the company include the NBC dramas Las Vegas (with DreamWorks SKG), Crossing Jordan, and American Dreams. Universal Network Television bought the Law & Order franchise and The District—in fact, Universal Network Television had co-produced American Dreams with NBC before the merger. Entertainment shows produced by the new group include The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Last Call with Carson Daly, and Saturday Night Live.
The formation of NBC Universal saw the establishment of NBC Universal Cable, which oversees the distribution, marketing, and advertisement sales for thirteen channels (Bravo, Bravo HD+ (eventually renamed Universal HD), Chiller, CNBC, CNBC World, MSNBC, NBC Universo, Syfy, ShopNBC (which became ShopHQ after NBCUniversal sold its stake in the network), Telemundo, Cloo, USA Network and the Olympic Games on cable). NBC Universal Cable also manages the company's investments in The Weather Channel and TiVo. The cable division also used to operate NBC Weather Plus until 2008. It also owned a 50% stake in Canal+ and also owned a 15% stake in A+E Networks until 2012.
In the early 1990s, NBC began its expansion throughout Europe by creating CNBC Europe and its long-time successful NBC Europe Superstation by broadcasting NBC Giga throughout Germany and the rest of the European Union. NBC Europe helped to develop the Leipzig-based Games Convention, the largest European video game exposition with more than 100,000 visitors each year.
In 2005, NBC Universal joined HANA, the High-Definition Audio-Video Network Alliance to help establish standards in consumer electronics interoperability. Later that year, NBC announced a partnership with Apple Computer to offer shows from all the NBC Universal TV networks on Apple's iTunes Store.
In January 2006, NBC Universal launched a new cable channel, Sleuth. The channel's programming dedicated to mystery/crime genre. Sleuth Network's initial slogan was "Mystery. Crime. All The Time." In early 2008, the channel unveiled a new slogan, "Get Clued In." On August 15, 2011, Sleuth rebranded as Cloo, in order to be able to trademark and own the name, as NBCUniversal cannot so with the name Clue (as Hasbro owns the rights to it with their board game Clue). NBCUniversal also explained that another reason for the name change was the word "Sleuth" is too common for search engines (a Google search brings up over 9,530,000 results).
One year later after Sleuth's debut, NBC Universal announced that the company would launch a horror-themed cable channel, Chiller, on March 1, 2007. At launch Chiller would be available exclusively on DirecTV. The network would feature films like Psycho and The Shining and TV series that include Twin Peaks, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Freddy's Nightmares, Friday the 13th: The Series, War of the Worlds and Tales from the Crypt. NBC Universal also stated that, aside from the content in their own vaults, Chiller will feature content from other studios as well. In 2009, Chiller unveiled a new slogan, "scary good". This replaced the channel's previous slogan "Dare To Watch".
On June 14, 2007, NBC Universal Television Studio was renamed Universal Media Studios. The company explained that the reason for the name change was because "the new name fully describes the company's mission to be the premier content provider for television and digital platforms, spanning all television dayparts and creative genres."
In August 2007, NBC Universal purchased Sparrowhawk Media Group and renamed it NBC Universal Global Networks. This acquisition gave NBC Universal all Hallmark channels outside the United States, plus the British channels Diva TV, Movies 24, Hallmark Channel and KidsCo. Later that fall, the company also acquired the Oxygen network in a separate $925 million deal. The sale was completed one month later.
In the summer of 2008, NBC Universal, Blackstone Group and Bain Capital announced their intentions to buy The Weather Channel from Landmark Communications. The deal closed on September 12, 2008. Shortly after the acquisition completed, NBC announced that their existing TV weather network, NBC Weather Plus, would be shut down by December 31, 2008.
On November 12, 2008, NBC Universal acquired 80.1% of Geneon Entertainment from Dentsu in Japan, merging it with Universal Pictures International Entertainment to form a new company, Geneon Universal Entertainment Japan.
On March 16, 2009, NBC Universal-owned cable channel Sci Fi announced that it would be changing its name to Syfy, replacing a generic term with a proprietary brand name that can be trademarked. The rebranding and name change took place on July 7, 2009.
On August 27, 2009, A&E Television Networks (A&E) merged with Lifetime Entertainment Services (Lifetime), giving NBC Universal an equal share of both Lifetime and A&E with The Walt Disney Company and Hearst.
On October 20, 2010, NBC Universal-owned horror/suspense-themed cable channel Chiller announced a major rebranding campaign incorporating a new logo and on-air look that launched on Wednesday, October 27, 2010. Syfy and Chiller President Dave Howe said, "We have very ambitious plans to grow this network as a brand."
Comcast era (2011–present)Edit
On December 3, 2009, after months of rumors, a deal was formally announced in which Comcast would buy a stake in NBC Universal from GE. Under the agreement, NBC Universal would be controlled with a 51% stake by Comcast and GE would retain the remaining 49%. Comcast paid $6.5 billion cash to GE. The deal includes a provision under which Comcast must contribute $7.5 billion in programming including regional sports networks and cable channels such as Golf Channel, Versus, and E! Entertainment Television. GE used some of the funds, $5.8 billion, to buy out Vivendi's 20% minority stake in NBC Universal. Under the terms of the deal, Comcast reserves the right to buy out GE's share at certain times, and GE reserves the right to force the sale of their stake within the first seven years. Vivendi completed the initial transaction on September 27, 2010, selling a $2 billion stake to GE (approximately 7.66%).
U.S. regulators approved the proposed sale on January 18, 2011 with conditions. Comcast would have to give up NBC control over online video site Hulu, and ensure NBC Universal programming is available to competing cable operators.
On January 26, 2011, Vivendi sold its remaining shares in NBC Universal to GE, giving GE complete control of the company ahead of the completion of the sale of 51% of the company to Comcast on January 28, 2011. Comcast and GE formed the joint venture holding company NBCUniversal, LLC. NBC Universal, Inc. became a wholly owned subsidiary of the holding company and was renamed as NBCUniversal Media, LLC. Later that year, the two companies merged.
Comcast had planned to buy out GE's 49% stake over the following seven years, but ownership of NBCUniversal remained split at 51–49% for two years, until the February 12, 2013 announcement that Comcast intended to complete the $16.7 billion purchase early, all at once. The sale was completed on March 19, 2013.
Originally, the NBC Universal logo was a combination of the NBC peacock logo and the Universal Studios globe and text. The logo was redesigned by Wolff Olins on January 31, 2011 to reflect the new Comcast ownership and the unity of its two main divisions.
In February 2013, NBCUniversal merged its two cable divisions, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment & Cable Studios and NBCUniversal Entertainment & Digital Networks and Integrated Media, into one unit while moving out Telemundo and Mun2 to a new division, NBCUniversal Hispanic Enterprises and Content. The move also created the corporate-level position of executive vice president in charge of digital ventures. In July, the company placed NBC TV Stations and Telemundo's O&Os stations into a new division, NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations, with New England Cable News being transferred into NBC TV Stations.
On April 28, 2016, NBCUniversal officially announced its intent to acquire DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 billion. Universal Pictures will take over the distribution for DreamWorks Animation films after their deal with 20th Century Fox Film Corporation expires. The sale was approved by board members, but was subject to regulatory approval. On June 21, 2016, the acquisition was approved by the United States Department of Justice. On August 22, 2016, the deal was completed, and DreamWorks Animation is now a wholly owned subsidiary of NBCUniversal. This will give Universal Pictures distribution to both DreamWorks Animation and Illumination Entertainment films beginning in 2019.
On February 15, 2017, Universal Studios acquired a minority stake in Amblin Partners, strengthening the relationship between Universal and Amblin, and reuniting a minority percentage of the DreamWorks Pictures label with DreamWorks Animation. On February 28, 2017, NBCUniversal announced that it would acquire the remaining 49% stake in the Universal Studios Japan theme park that it did not own.
On May 1, 2017, NBCUniversal announced that Sprout would be re-launched as Universal Kids on September 9, 2017. The re-branded network revamped its evening and primetime programming to target youth and family viewing, incorporating new original series targeting the demographic (such as Top Chef Junior), as well as other international imports (such as the Australian series Nowhere Boys and the Canadian series The Next Step). The remainder of the network's programming continues to consist of preschool programming under the Universal Kids Preschool brand, occupying 15 hours-per-day of programming from 3:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET. NBCUniversal's recent acquisition of DreamWorks Animation will also be leveraged by Universal Kids to bolster its programming; critics felt that the DWA purchase and the launch of Universal Kids were meant to help NBCUniversal establish a viable multi-platform presence in children's media, and a competitor to other major children's brands such as Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, and Disney Channel.
On November 16, 2017, NBCUniversal (through Comcast) approached 21st Century Fox to acquire Fox's filmed entertainment, cable entertainment, and international assets, ten days after The Walt Disney Company was reported to be negotiating with Fox for the same assets. The deal contained key assets, including the 20th Century Fox film and TV divisions, 30% stake in Hulu, television assets FX Networks, National Geographic Channel, and Fox Sports Networks, and international television operations such as Star India and Sky UK, while excluding the Fox Broadcasting Company, the Fox News Channel, Fox Television Stations, Fox Business Network, and Fox Sports, all which will spin-off into a new independent company run by the Murdoch family; a notable purchase from the deal was to include the animated TV series The Simpsons, which NBCUniversal's subsidiary Universal Parks & Resorts in Hollywood and Florida have themed areas based on.
However, on December 11, 2017, NBCUniversal's owner Comcast officially dropped the bid, saying that "We never got the level of engagement needed to make a definitive offer.” On December 14, 2017, Disney officially confirmed its acquisition of 21st Century Fox, which was granted approval from the United States Department of Justice Antitrust Division on June 27, 2018 and approved by stockholders from both companies one month later.
- Steve Burke, CEO of NBCUniversal
- Ron Meyer, Vice Chairman of NBCUniversal
- George Cheeks, Co-Chairman of NBC Entertainment
- Paul Telegdy, Co-Chairman of NBC Entertainment
- Bonnie Hammer, Chairwoman of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment Group
- Andrew Lack, Chairman of NBCUniversal News Group
- Mark Lazarus, Chairman of NBC Sports Group
- Jeff Shell, Chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group
NBCUniversal faces industry competition from traditional media companies such as Sony, CBS Corporation, 21st Century Fox, Viacom, The Walt Disney Company, and WarnerMedia. The business of such companies may be severely impacted by the increasing viewership of feature films, television programming and other content online with low ad-income, which decreases company revenues.
- "Comcast and GE Complete Transaction to Form NBCUniversal, LLC" (Press release). Comcast Corporation and General Electric Company. January 29, 2011. Archived from the original on February 9, 2011. Retrieved January 29, 2011.
- Detailed Description of the Transaction, Appendix 2, Comcast-GE-NBCU Voluntary Commitments – January 28, 2010, Comcast, GE and NBC Universal File Public Interest Statement with FCC Archived 2011-01-23 at the Wayback Machine.
- "NBCUniversal website as at 14 April 2011 - note copyright notice". Archived from the original on April 14, 2011. Retrieved May 25, 2013.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-06-24. Retrieved 2018-06-24.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-07-25. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
- James, Meg. "NBCUniversal earnings soar, boosted by hit movies and Universal Studios crowds". Latimes.com. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
- "NBC Universal to sell Burbank, Calif, studio". MarketWatch. October 11, 2007. Retrieved August 28, 2009.
- Jean-Bernard LEVY (May 13, 2004). "Overview of NBC Universal Merger" (PDF). Vivendi Universal. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 18, 2008. Retrieved December 24, 2009.
- Keating, Gina (December 3, 2009). "TIMELINE: NBC, Universal through the 20th century and beyond". Reuters. Retrieved December 24, 2009.
- Lieberman, David. "Comcast Completes Acquisition Of GE’s 49% Stake In NBCUniversal". Deadline Hollywood (March 19, 2013).
- "NBC, Dow jones reveal merger details". Retrieved 2018-05-30.
- Carter, Bill (August 23, 2004). "NBC Universal And Paxson: An Odd Dance To a Divorce". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved March 31, 2013.
- JAMES, MEG (2001-10-12). "NBC to Acquire Telemundo Network for $1.98 Billion". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2018-05-30.
- "Company Overview". NBC Universal. Archived from the original on December 27, 2010. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
- de la Merced, Michael J. (July 10, 2012). "Comcast to Sell Back Its Stake in A&E for $3 Billion". DealBook. Retrieved April 17, 2013.
- Noguchi, Yuki (December 7, 2005). "NBC Universal, iTunes Team On Downloads of TV Shows". The Washington Post. The Washington Post Company. Retrieved April 24, 2013.
- Exclusive: Sleuth Gets A New Name: Meet Cloo, TV Guide, April 7, 2011
- Exclusive: Newly Rebranded Cloo TV Picks Up First Original Series TV Guide July 15, 2011
- "NBC Universal Re-Names NBC Universal Television Studio as Universal Media Studios" (Press release). NBC Universal. June 14, 2007. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
- "NBCUniversal | History, Acquisitions, & Facts". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2017-08-11.
- Eric Pfanner (August 28, 2007). "NBC Universal buys 19 Hallmark channels outside the U.S." International Herald Tribune. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
- Michael Learmonth (October 10, 2007). "NBC U Sucks in Oxygen". Daily Variety. p. 1.
- Seth sutel (July 7, 2008). "NBC Universal to buy The Weather Channel for $3.5B". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
- Lafayette, Jon (July 20, 2008). "NBC Taps Cable-Studio Bosses". TV Week.com. Archived from the original on March 23, 2012. Retrieved August 15, 2012.
- Conlan, Tara (August 20, 2008). "NBC Universal buy Carnival". The Guardian. London: Guardian News and Media. Retrieved August 20, 2008.
- "Geneon to Merge with Universal Pictures Japan". Anime News Network. November 12, 2008. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
- "Geneon Universal Entertainment Japan Official Website" (in Japanese). Retrieved February 22, 2009.
- Elliott, Stuart (2009-03-15). "Sci Fi Channel Has a New Name: Now, It's Syfy". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-08-11.
- Elliott, Stuart (March 16, 2009). "Sci Fi Channel Has a New Name: Now, It's Syfy". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
- Syfy: Not Your Father's Sci-Fi Archived 2014-03-01 at the Wayback Machine., Fortune, July 7, 2009
- A&E Acquires Lifetime, Variety.com, August 27, 2009
- A&E Networks, Lifetime Merger Completed, Broadcasting & Cable, August 27, 2009
- Marc Graser. "Chiller takes a chill pill". Variety.
- Chiller Announces Major Redesign, TV By the Numbers, October 20, 2010
- Wilkerson, David B.; Steven Goldstein (December 3, 2009). "Comcast scores controlling stake in NBC Universal". MarketWatch. Retrieved December 3, 2009.
- "Vivendi to Sell 20% Stake in NBCU to GE for $5.8 Bln". The Wall Street Journal. December 3, 2009.[dead link]
- "Vivendi Sells $2 billion NBC Universal Stake to GE". CNBC. September 27, 2010. Archived from the original on November 6, 2015.
- Thomasch, Paul (January 18, 2011). "UPDATE 2-U.S. regulators approve Comcast-NBCU deal". Reuters. Retrieved May 8, 2016.
- Vivendi Wraps Up Sale of NBC Universal Stake, The Wall Street Journal, January 27, 2011
- 8-K filed on 01/31/2011 General Electric Company
- Nakashima, Ryan (February 12, 2013). "Comcast to buy GE's 49 pct stake in NBCUniversal". MSN. Associated Press. Retrieved February 12, 2013.
- Chozick, Amy; Stelter, Brian (February 12, 2013). "Comcast Buys Rest of NBC in Early Sale". The New York Times. Retrieved February 24, 2013.
- (2013-03-19) . Deadline, "Comcast Completes Acquisition Of GE’s 49% Stake In NBCUniversal". Retrieved on March 19, 2013.
- Lost in the Comcast Takeover? A Logo's Peacock, The New York Times, January 29, 2011
- "New York Deadline" Pat Fili-Krushel To Oversee NBCUniversal News Group deadline.com, Retrieved on July 23, 2012
- James, Meg. (February 4, 2013) Bonnie Hammer to lead NBCUniversal cable entertainment channels. Los Angeles Times. Accessed on November 21, 2013.
- "NBC's Owned Stations Reorganize". Broadcasting & Cable. NewBay Media LLC. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
- "Comcast's NBCUniversal buys DreamWorks Animation in $3.8-billion deal". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Publishing. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
- "Comcast is buying Dreamworks in a $3.8 billion acquisition". Washington Post. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
- "How A DreamWorks-Illumination Combo Beats Disney At The B.O." Deadline Hollywood. April 29, 2016. Retrieved May 2, 2016.
- "Antitrust Officials Clear Comcast's $3.8B DreamWorks Animation Acquisition". Deadline Hollywood. June 21, 2016. Retrieved June 23, 2016.
- "NBCUniversal's Ron Meyer: Here's why we bought Dreamworks Animation". CNBC. NBCUniversal. July 7, 2016.
- McNary, Dave (22 August 2016). "Comcast Completes $3.8 Billion Purchase of DreamWorks Animation".
- Perry, Spencer (February 15, 2017). "Universal Studios Buys a Minority Stake in Amblin Partners". Comingsoon.net. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
- Jamerson, Joshua (28 February 2017). "Comcast to Buy Remaining Stake in Universal Studios Japan for $2.3 Billion". The Wall Street Journal.
- Steinberg, Brian (May 1, 2017). "NBCU's Sprout Grows Up: Universal Kids to Debut in September". Variety. Retrieved May 8, 2017.
- Getzler, Wendy (May 1, 2017). "A new age: Sprout to become Universal Kids". Kidscreen. Retrieved May 1, 2017.
- Barnes, Brooke (April 30, 2017). "NBCUniversal is Building Its Own Children's Channel". The New York Times. Retrieved May 1, 2017.
- "NBCU EVP Duccio Donati Takes on DreamWorks Channel". Animation Magazine. August 3, 2017. Retrieved August 4, 2017.
- "Duccio Donati tapped for new kids role at NBCUniversal". Kidscreen. August 4, 2017.
- Littleton, Cynthia (10 May 2017). "NBCUniversal Acquires Majority Stake in Craftsy Digital Network". Variety. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
- C. Chmielewski, Dawn; Hayes, Dade (2017-11-16). "Comcast-Fox Deal Talks Latest Entry Into Media Merger Mania". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 2017-11-28.
- James, Meg (November 16, 2017). "Comcast jumps into bidding war for 21st Century Fox's media assets". Los Angeles Times. Tronc. Retrieved November 16, 2017.
- Bond, James (November 17, 2017). "Sony Also Inquiring About 21st Century Fox Assets". The Hollywood Reporter. Eldridge Industries. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
- Reuter Staff, Reuter Staff (2017-12-11). "Comcast drops bid for Fox assets, leaving Disney in pole position". Reuters. Retrieved 2017-12-11.
- Riley, Charles and Hadas Gold. "Disney is buying most of 21st Century Fox for $52.4 billion". CNNMoney. Retrieved 2017-12-14.