Comcast to invest $200 million to revive NBC

TV Arts

TMC
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/entertainmentnewsbuzz/2011/05/comcast-to-invest-additional-300-million-for-nbcuniversal-programming.html

Most of that money will go toward revamping the Peacock's struggling
10 o'clock hour.
                                            
WQ
"NBC also loses more than $100 million a year on its NFL "Sunday Night
Football" contract."

What kind of a stupid deal is that?  Cancel football then.  And I
thought that was what was keeping the network afloat all this time.
Get rid of it.
                                            
Ken
Ah, but if it's one of their highest watched show, then they use it to 
promote their other shows so it helps them as a network overall beyond just 
the cost of the one show.

In retail stores, it's the "loss-leader" that gets customers in the door and 
once there they start shopping other items.
                                            
WQ
I'd buy that argument if they had actually had any fall hits directly
attributable to football, but they've had none, and this has been
going on for the 5 seasons that NBC has carried Sunday football.  No
hits + still being stuck in 3rd or 4th place + football contract at a
loss = useless football, ergo cancel it.


The only door the "customers" are getting in through is the Sunday
night football door, then they leave the NBC stadium behind until the
following Sunday.  There are very few stragglers left to be shopping
around for anything else the rest of the week.  You need to have
something on display worth sticking around for, and what promos
football carries for the displays across the rest of the week just
aren't tantalizing enough for them to sample or even bother browsing
through.
                                            
rwgibson13
Clearly they overpaid for the contract.  And the Olympics too.  223
Million bucks lost from that deal?  Clearly someone was more
interested in the prestige than the bottom line...

RWG (but if it's not NBC losing the 200+ Million, it'll be some other
network)
                                            
Mason
Someday SOMEONE is going to figure out that people should have to pay for
this stuff.

I'd piss and moan about it, but I'd probably shell out 100 bucks for
decent Olympic coverage, or $3 for an NFL game I wanted to watch, even
with some commercials.

I noticed that PPV for some *welterweight* boxing championship was
something like $50 the other night.
                                            
Obveeus
I can sort of see the mainstream sports going to some kind of a-la-cart TV 
pay system in the future, except...

1.  You probably won't get to *just* order Olympic swimming or Olympic 
downhill skiing.  instead, you will have to buy the whole Olympic package as 
an all or nothing access.  Same goes for the NFL.  I can seem them offering 
up a 16 (or 18) game package for your favorite team, but they probably won't 
allow you to just buy the game where they play Dallas.

2.  The NFL, NBA, Baseball, NHL, NASCAR all get a big chunk of money off of 
the sports merchandise, so they *really* want to keep as many people 
watching as possible.  That means that the big sports will probably still 
air on TV long after crime procedurals have died off.
                                            
Obveeus
The bigger question (if I dare to use the concept of 'loss leader') is:  how 
much lower would all the rest of NBC's ratings be if they didn't pull in the 
NFL audience that night to watch their NBC promos and learn/remember/train 
to tune in to NBC channel?


CBS and Time Warner came out with their quarterly reports today.   CBS stock 
went way up, apparently in large part because they got themselves out from 
under a big chunk of the losing money NCAA basketball contract by pawning it 
off on the Time Warner cable channels.  Similarly, Time Warner is already 
showing the 'loss' of taking on that losing money NCAA deal so their stock 
went down (though this is just the first year of a longterm deal and they 
swear things will get better).

So, NFL, NCAA, and Olympics are all losing deals...and you just know that 
the NHL $2billion is a losing deal.  I doubt very much that Baseball is a 
winner for the broadcast TV networks, either...and certainly FOX seemed to 
be hurt in the ratings this  past year by a weak playoffs.

However, the networks will still keep signing up to lose money on sports if 
they think it pulls in viewers to all their other programming and ends with 
a net profit.
                                            
shawn
This is a good thing. Perhaps it will cause the networks (cable and
broadcast) to finally stop paying so much for these sports contracts.
Heck, maybe it will even cause ESPN to eventually lower their fees to
the cable/satellite companies. LOL. One can always hope.


I'm sure that's what they are think but there's no way they pulled in
enough new viewers from the sports contracts to make up all of those
losses. The problem is there's no way to come up with hard numbers
either way.
                                            
Obveeus
Not likely.


You can hope, but again...not likely.  The biggest problem I see, though, 
isn't the cost of ESPN, but the growing cost of sport specific channels like 
NFL Network that will get more and more games and also cost more and more. 
The result is that ESPN will cost more and have less to offer because of the 
competition.


Without Sunday night football, would anyone have tuned in to NBC in the 
Fall?


I agree.  It is all speculation as to where the breakeven/profit line in the 
sand is located.  Meanwhile, those super-greedy ballplayers want even more 
millions for 'their share' of a contract that is actually losing the 
networks money.  Don't expect the cost to fans (ticket prices) to go down 
any time soon.
                                            
Default
What does the loss to the networks have to do with the players' share of the 
money? They don't work for the network, they work for the people who are 
getting the big contract. Who should get the money, if not the players? The 
owners? Why are the players greedy, but the owners not?



Brian
                                            
Obveeus
Yes, everyone involved with the NFL is getting more money than they should 
because the networks are using the games as a loss leader.



Did I say that the owners weren't greedy?
What I will say is that the union demands for disclosure regarding the 
details of the ownerships finances are over the top...and well beyond what 
pretty much any other employee or even stockholder has access to.  Very, 
very greedy people demonstrating the bad that unions have become in this 
country.
                                            
Default
I still fail to see the point. The contract was negociated. The league got 
their best deal. No one forced NBC into it. I don't see how making the best 
deal makes anyone greedy. Should the league offer a rebate because of some 
paper "loss" that NBC shows?


You have to be kidding. The NFLPA is worst sports union EVER. They folded up 
tent after replacement players were brought in during the strike. They are 
the only league that allows teams to cut players and void remaining years of 
contracts.


Brian
                                            
rwgibson13
I'm not normally a "pro-union" kinda guy, but when it comes to
millionaires vs billionaires, my perspective gets a bit skewed.

I do have to agree with you about the comparisons of the football
union vs most of the other American pro sports unions.  I had a
brother-in-law who always hoped his kids (my nephews) would grow up to
be pro football players.  I tried my best to convince him that they'd
be better off going into baseball, where even if they weren't talented
enough to make a living at the highest level, they could at least make
a better than average living (talking sports here) by playing in the
minors and not risk lowering their life expectancy by ten years.
Serious studies are just now being done about the serious lifelong
health costs of being a professional football player in America; and I
guess a majority of Americans would still probably trade ten years of
their lives (or a similar cost - in pain, suffering and money - of
multiple joint operations or whatever) in order to be in the spotlight
and make six or seven figures per year for five years or so, but I
dunno if I would.

RWG (not that a large percentage of us actually get that choice...)
                                            
Obveeus
Yep.


If you don't think that people being paid millions of dollars and getting 
pensions/healthcare for life based upon 4 years of so of work...and asking 
for more that what they are already getting seems greedy, then I'm not going 
to be able to pursuade you.


Nope.  That is NBC/NBCU/Comcast's problem


What has any of that got to do with the demands (over the top) they have 
made for owner finacial disclosures?  What does it have to do with 
circumventing salaray caps with signing bonuses?  What does it have to do 
with most of those contracts with remaining years being players that signed 
for many years more than anyone believed they would actually play (again to 
circumvent the intentions of the salary cap).  As for replacement players, 
the NFL may have no choice but to go that route again if they can't get 
money back from the TV contract for games that won't be played.  I don't see 
a legal reason why the network would have to hand the money back, so the 
games will have to go on.
                                            
Default
So who should get the money?


That's an ownership thing. Players don't circumvent caps. The players want 
the bonuses because their contracts aren't guaranteed. If they had 
guaranteed contracts like every other sport, there would be no need to have 
large bonuses.


They can't use replacement players. This is a lock-out, not a strike.



Brian
                                            
Obveeus
You are just playing a chicken and egg game, now.  If the owners/players 
demanded fewer millions, the TV contracts would not be so expensive...same 
goes for the ticket price going to a game.  The reason that the cost to the 
end user 9the viewer) is so high is that everyone in the sports 
entertainment food chain is constantly driving up the cost.

I'm curious, though, do you believe the word 'greedy' has any meaning with 
respect to money...or is anyone asking/demanding for any sum of money 
something that doesn't/cannot count as greedy?  Can you give an example of 
anyone in sports or the entertainment industry that is 'greedy' based upon 
their financial demands?


Translation...players want huge sums of money upfront before they have done 
a single thing of value.  That way, they are sure to be paid even if they 
never do a single thing of value.


Sure...like other sports don't just spread the guaranteed contracts out over 
many future years (where it is all but ceertain that the player won't still 
be in the game) just to achieve a similar effect of circumventing the salary 
caps and borrowing against the future to pay the current players.  this is 
exactly why the auto manufacturers, airlines, and most other union 
operations are underwater.  Even the current government...spending our 
grandchildren's money like mad to enjoy the fruits of today.


Can't really be a lockout if you aren't allowed to lock the players 
out...and when the season rolls around without a new agreement what do you 
think is going to happen?
                                            
Default
That's neither here nor there. No one forced NBC to agree. They thought it 
was a good deal. If I had the leverage, I'd negociate a better deal on 
almost anything. Short of an unfair advantage, that's not greedy.


Can you? It's a business deal. The players didn't make the deal. There's no 
indication that if the players asked for less money that the league would 
have asked for less.


That's because they could go out and have their career ended in the first 
training camp. Non-guaranteed contracts. Again, nobody forces an owner to 
agree. Football is the most physical sport, and the one that has the 
shortest average playing time. It's also the one that is most likely to 
leave the players with long-term health issues.

It should be noted that the players have only requested that the current 
deal extend. The owners want to change it, pleading loss of money. That's 
why the request to see the books.


I don't think the players will strike. So it's no games or played with the 
current players. You can't lock them out and use replacement players.


Brian
                                            
Obveeus
This is where I thought your problem with my using the word originated.  You 
don't believe the word 'greed' has meaning for financial demands.  So, when 
you took issue with my calling some entity out as 'greedy' the real issue is 
that you don't think the term exists at all.


Sure, a player might not ever even be good enough to make the team, so it 
only seems fair that they should get guaranteed upfront millions.


Yes, injury is a real problem, but it isn't the reason that players want 
their money up front before they ever have to prove themselves capable of 
making the team.  if injury was the real issue, the contracts would be 
structuered to take care of injured players...nowadays, the 
pension/retirement stuff is built in for that anyway.

Meanwhile, try going in to your job and saying that you want 10 years salary 
upfront because you might get hurt and not be able to work and see how fare 
that gets you.  At best, you will be referred to the Aflak duck.


What other business opens up its books to employees on that level?  Not even 
publically traded companies do what the players are demanding.


Your 'no games' option for any extended period of time pretty much 
necesitates replacement players...even if everyone needs to be fired for 
refusing to work...and then hired back when they come to their senses. 
Still, all of that is unlikely to happen and what will happen instead is 
what happens with all the unions.  the ownership will agree to unsustainable 
financial demands and doom the future of the company in order to avoid 
destruction in the present.  Then, some day the taxpayers can be bailing out 
the NFL pension fund that went bankrupt because each player that ever player 
a down was promised $2 billion dollars per year in retirement.
                                            
Default
I don't think so in this case. You do, apparently. Although at least 
initially only the players were mentioned, even though their "greed" has 
nothing to do with it. The salary demands follow the money, not the other 
way around. The NFL didn't say, "Holy smokes, look at all this money we owe 
the players! We better ask for more than we really want!"


I'm sure a few players got large signing bonuses but failed to make the 
team. That's the fault of the scouting personnel of the team. How often does 
it really happen?


The contracts aren't. The owners want non-guaranteed contracts. They also 
WANT bonuses.


That's right. Because they know there are 50 guys just like me looking for 
work that would be able step in and do it. That's not the case with 
football.


Then owners should stop pleading poverty.


You are badly confused. The players are NOT refusing to work. They are ready 
to go back. They are LOCKED OUT. The owners are refusing to allow the 
players to work. They could, I suppose, void every contract and open it all 
to free agency. But they won't.

I don't think you grasp the basic issues.



Brian
                                            
Default
I don't know that I can define the term, nor think of a specific one.


Why? The money is there already. Who deserves the money. Why don't the 
players, who actually produce the entertainment that is being sold, deserve 
it? Why are they "greedy"?


Actors. Other entertainers. You need to stop thinking of the players as 9-5 
working stiffs and see them the context of the entertainment field.


Talk to the owners, not the players.


Not at all the same. My example is people of equal skill levels.


Again, who deserves the money?


The players? Yes. They have already offered to do just that. They like the 
current deal and want to keep it.


They could void contracts, but they can't bring in replacement players while 
keeping the individual contracts in force the way they could if it were a 
strike.


The players deserve the money. They aren't greedy for asking for a fair 
share.



Brian
                                            
Obveeus
Exactly.  You don't assign any meaning to the word 'greedy', so you are 
going to find contention with ane use of the word.


The players are already getting millions of dollars.  Why do you think they 
deserve a larger share than they are already getting?


Which actors or other entertainers are paid multiple years worth of salary 
before they do any work?


Why can't I talk to all of them?


Plenty of people show up to watch college football.  We aren't talking about 
a bunch of  guys on barstools going out to play.  There are plenty of people 
out there that could reoplace the current NFL players and still draw an 
audience to the pro games because it is the jersey, team name, city venue, 
etc... that people take pride in following most of the time, not a specific 
player.  If an old hero leaves the field, a new one will show up, because 
someone is playing and therefore someone will 'dazzle'.


Keeping the 'current deal' which is over isn't the same as playing without a 
contract and you know it.


Which doesn't contradict what I said at all.


Is this where I step in and claim that the word 'fair' has no meaning and 
that I cannot think of any example where the word has a financial use so 
that I can claim your assertion is invalid?  The simple fact is that there 
is nothing 'unfair' about the owners offer...and, for that matter, there 
would be nothing 'unfair' if the owners were only giving the players 10% of 
what they are giving them now.

The only use I can find for the word 'unfair' here is that the fans have to 
pay for a stadium and offer these millionaires a bunch of tax incentives, 
just so they can have the pleasure of paying huge ticket prices for the 
opportunity to actually see a live game.
                                            
David
What does that have to do with the union?  Signing bonuses aren't
negotiated by them are they?
                                            
Obveeus
The existence of signing bonuses and the way they are structured to 'defeat' 
the salary cap by pushing the costing out years into the future compared to 
when payment is actually made was negotiated into the union/owner contract.
                                            
shawn
Sure they would. I don't watch Sunday Night Football and yet I still
managed to know about NBC's new shows. In any case viewers didn't tune
into NBC in the Fall with Sunday Night Football so it's not like it
helped. ;)
                                            
Obveeus
Yep, but without the NFL game, NBC might have had CW level viewership.  I'd 
bet big money that if CW had the NFL Sunday night game, all of their other 
shows would have seen viewer/demo increases even though the target audiences 
are near polar opposite.
                                            
Ken
And those lower prices could be passed on to lower ticket prices thus 
allowing regular folk to afford to attend live games with their kids.


NBC can only afford so much tho. At some point they have to face reality.
                                            
Obveeus
Ticket prices aren't really tied to the cost of the TV package, except that 
players see all that TV money, demand more millions for themselves, and that 
money is going to end up coming from specific owners through increased 
ticket prices.


The Voice, Celebrity Apprentice, The Biggest Loser...all NBC has left is 
reality.  As for how much more they have to spend, they just got new owners 
and those new owners have every reason to keep spending tons of money on 
sports packages (the package can be tied to all those cable channels) while 
pinning a loss on NBC broadcast.
                                            
shawn
Unfortunately true.  If they aren't careful they will kill the golden
goose due to making it too expensive for young families to attend the
games. If they don't attend the games the young kids may not develop
the same love for the sports and may not be willing to pay for them as
they become adults.


So they will follow typical Hollywood accounting and charge all of the
sports package costs to NBC while distributing the actual events
amongst many channels (especially Versus or whatever it is about to be
named.)
                                            
Obveeus
I think they plan to make up for the lack of firsthand pro-sport viewing by 
keeping kids involved/intersted in school sports, keeping the sports video 
games rolling, and doing a huge push for fantasy sports games that follow 
the stats/players of the real game.


Yep.  ...This is why you get stuff like  FX Network in relation to FOX 
(which already has multiple sports entities) when they announced the latest 
Pac-10 (12) TV deal.
                                            
rwgibson13
What I was snarking at with the 200+ million bucks lost comment is
that you really can not NOT cover the Olympics in the USA, no matter
what the cost.  The networks might need to work with (sigh) the
government on possible solutions, but I think there will always be a
major American network willing to eat 200+ million dollars to cover
them.  It's a source of "national pride" and always has been since
I've been old enough to remember.

Now, the NFL and the rest are really different situations. I don't
know much about the Sunday Night football situation, but I'm willing
to bet it's different.  NBC lost out to CBS in the coverage of the AFC
the last time the contracts came up and, after NBC having that
contract for most of my adult lifetime, I have to think that it must
have stung.  In a similar way to Fox outbidding CBS for the NFC a
looooong time ago must have fucked up CBS.

RWG (so it's not really surprising to me that NBC overpaid for the
package)
                                            
Ken
<snip>


Why?


<snip>

Why is it that expensive merely to report about the Olympics?
                                            
David
For some reason a lot of Americans are really interested in them.


Because the Olympics charge for broadcasting them.
                                            
Obveeus
Agreed.  There is no good reason that coverage couldn't be 1% of the cost is 
is now.


Naming/branding/exclusive rights type stuff...because it really is one huge 
organized professional sport consisting almost entirely of athletes that 
live and train in the USA (along with just a couple other countries).
                                            
rwgibson13
On that note, I wonder how much Fox paid for NASCAR coverage on Sunday
afternoon/nights?

RWG (seems that one might pay off, seeing as the summer is usually a
dead-end for original network programming)
                                            
Obveeus
NASCAR is about half way through an 8 year $4+billion deal with the 
networks, but ratings have been on the decline for all 4 of those years 
(ratings are stable this year as best as comparisons can be made).   I doubt 
that FOX, ABC, ESPN, or TNT are making any money from the deal, but Speed 
Channel probably is, simply because they have so many shows programmed 
around the sport...and because there is no other mainstream racing left in 
this country now that CART/Indy cars have all but died in popularity outside 
of the Indy500.
                                            
David
Dare, please. It's a pleasure to see you use the term correctly.