Time Warner Cable to Comcast: Integration not easy

Dec 08, 2009 By DEBORAH YAO , AP Business Writer

(AP) -- The chief executive of Time Warner Cable Inc. offers this warning to Comcast Corp. on its purchase of a controlling stake in NBC Universal: Mixing content and distribution is harder to accomplish than it looks.

Glenn Britt, CEO of the nation's second-largest cable TV operator, said Cable Inc. separated from Time Warner Inc. because the expected benefits of marrying a cable TV system and cable channels "didn't work out."

"The businesses were quite different in terms of what people do everyday," he said.

The cable side had different goals and ways of doing things than the content side, which included Warner Bros. and such cable channels as HBO, TNT and TBS.

Last week, said it would buy a 51 percent stake in NBC Universal from Co. for $6.5 billion in cash and contribute $7.25 billion worth of cable assets to a joint venture that will house the entertainment company. Comcast has been seeking to get more movies and TV shows, and the deal would create one of the nation's largest media conglomerates if it is approved by regulators.

At the UBS and communications conference in New York, Britt said Time Warner Inc. owned a cable TV company as part of "risk avoidance."

Because the two businesses were different, if one part suffered the other could prop it up. That way, the company would survive changes in technology, such as video delivered over the Internet. But the problem is, such a company wouldn't thrive either.

"Not only can you never lose, you can also never win, because there's some part of the enterprise that was always not doing well," Britt said.

But Britt said Comcast CEO Brian Roberts may not be looking primarily at the benefits of tying content and cable, even though that is one result of an acquisition.

Instead, Roberts may be picking up the entertainment company because the price is right during a . Although NBC is lagging in fourth place, cable channels such as Bravo and are performing well and would give Comcast a steady stream of revenue.

"He really seems to be saying, 'We think this is a good investment,'" Britt said. "I think time will tell whether it is or not."

Comcast did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Time Warner Cable is happy to be solely a cable operator: "We're strategically complete," said Britt wryly, echoing Roberts' own words after announcing the NBC Universal deal.

Shares of Time Warner Cable, based in New York, were up 25 cents to $43.30 in afternoon trading. Comcast, based in Philadelphia, rose by 8 cents to $17.35.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: Hand out money with my mobile? I think I'm ready

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Comcast looks to future in bid for NBC Universal

Oct 02, 2009

(AP) -- Years ago, Comcast Corp. CEO Brian Roberts was asked at a conference what kept him awake at night. His answer: A new technology that would severely hurt the cable TV business.

Comcast exploring stake in NBC

Oct 01, 2009

(AP) -- Comcast Corp. is in negotiations to buy 20 percent to 50 percent of NBC Universal, according to people familiar with the negotiations.

GE, Vivendi talks over NBC Universal stretch on

Nov 20, 2009

(AP) -- A deal for Comcast Corp. to buy a controlling stake in NBC Universal and create one of the most powerful media companies in the world is taking longer than expected as the current owners tussle over ...

Recommended for you

Hand out money with my mobile? I think I'm ready

Apr 17, 2014

A service is soon to launch in the UK that will enable us to transfer money to other people using just their name and mobile number. Paym is being hailed as a revolution in banking because you can pay peopl ...

Quantenna promises 10-gigabit Wi-Fi by next year

Apr 16, 2014

(Phys.org) —Quantenna Communications has announced that it has plans for releasing a chipset that will be capable of delivering 10Gbps WiFi to/from routers, bridges and computers by sometime next year. ...

Tech giants look to skies to spread Internet

Apr 16, 2014

The shortest path to the Internet for some remote corners of the world may be through the skies. That is the message from US tech giants seeking to spread the online gospel to hard-to-reach regions.

Wireless industry makes anti-theft commitment

Apr 16, 2014

A trade group for wireless providers said Tuesday that the biggest mobile device manufacturers and carriers will soon put anti-theft tools on the gadgets to try to deter rampant smartphone theft.

Dish Network denies wrongdoing in $2M settlement

Apr 15, 2014

The state attorney general's office says Dish Network Corp. will reimburse Washington state customers about $2 million for what it calls a deceptive surcharge, but the satellite TV provider denies any wrongdoing.

Netflix's Comcast deal improves quality of video

Apr 14, 2014

Netflix's videos are streaming through Comcast's Internet service at their highest speeds in the past 17 months now that Netflix is paying for a more direct connection to Comcast's network.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Hackers of Oman news agency target Bouteflika

Hackers on Sunday targeted the website of Oman's official news agency, singling out and mocking Algeria's newly re-elected president Abdelaziz Bouteflika as a handicapped "dictator".

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.

Low tolerance for pain? The reason may be in your genes

Researchers may have identified key genes linked to why some people have a higher tolerance for pain than others, according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 66th Annual ...

How to keep your fitness goals on track

(HealthDay)—The New Year's resolutions many made to get fit have stalled by now. And one expert thinks that's because many people set their goals too high.