Two Years Later, How’s the Comcast-NBC Merger Working Out?

Those of us who don’t follow business news all that closely may nonetheless be dimly aware that Philadelphia-based Kabletown purchased NBC from G.E. two years ago this week—but the smarter folks among us know that’s just a plotline from 30 Rock, and that in real life Philadelphia-based Comcast made the purchase.

So how is it working out? Is Philadelphia the new Hollywood? Is NBC the old (good) NBC? Is there still money to be made in broadcast television, or should we just prepare ourselves for 24-hours-a-day reality show programming? Can Matt Lauer overcome the national hatred for him created by the Ann Curry dumping?

NBCUniversal’s Steve Burke didn’t quite touch on all of those issues in his Monday memo celebrating the anniversary. But he did sound very optimistic:

By any measure, 2012 was a very successful year for NBCUniversal. We exceeded our financial goals for the year and made good progress on the objectives we shared with you last January. We are becoming a more unified, less siloed company. We are making it easier to do business, reducing bureaucracy and simplifying administrative tasks. We are starting to realize returns on our investments, particularly in the broadcast business. We have also changed our focus to look outward more, measuring ourselves against our competition and spending more time with our customers.

Acquisitions tend to succeed or fail in the first few years. Getting off to such a positive start bodes well for our future. Thank you for your hard work and dedication over the last two years. You should be proud of what we’ve accomplished together.

And yes, Burke says, the synergy with Comcast is paying off: “Many of our 2012 successes were amplified because they were Symphony projects, our name for what happens when all of our assets come together to support a single initiative. We have a strong Symphony partner in Comcast Cable that helps promote our products to millions of Comcast subscribers, a unique competitive advantage that yields significant ratings and box-office gains.” In other words: It sure is nice for NBC to have Comcast’s customers to advertise to!

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