NBCUniversal, LLC
Type Limited liability company
Founded Merger between NBC and Vivendi (May 11, 2004 (2004-05-11))
Headquarters GE Building
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York City 10112
, U.S.
Key people Steve Burke (President/CEO),
Jeff Gaspin (Chairman, NBCUniversal Television Entertainment),
Ron Meyer (President and COO, Universal Studios)
Revenue (GE) US$16.9 billion
Net income (GE) $2.26 billion
Parent Comcast (51%)
General Electric (49%)
Divisions NBC, Universal Studios, NBCUniversal Television Group, NBC News, USA Network, Syfy, Chiller, G4, CNBC, MSNBC, NBC.com, MSNBC.com, iVillage, PictureBox Movies, Bravo, qubo, Telemundo Television Studios, The Weather Channel, ShopNBC, Hulu, A&E Television Networks (15%)
Website http://www.nbcuni.com

NBCUniversal Media, LLC (formerly known as NBC Universal, Inc.)[2][3] is a media and entertainment company engaged in the production and marketing of entertainment, news, and information products and services to a global customer base. The company owns and operates American television networks, numerous cable channels, and a group of local stations in the United States, as well as motion picture companies, several television production companies, and branded theme parks.

NBC Universal was formed in May 2004 by the merger of General Electric's NBC with Vivendi's Vivendi Universal Entertainment.[4][5] GE and US cable TV operator Comcast announced a buyout agreement for the company on December 3, 2009. Following regulatory approvals, the transaction completed on January 28, 2011. Comcast now owns 51% of NBC Universal while GE owns 49%.[5][6][7]

Originally, the NBC Universal logo was a combination of the NBC peacock logo and the Universal Studios globe and text. The logo was redesigned in January 2011 to reflect the new Comcast ownership.[8]

NBC Universal is headquartered in the Rockefeller Plaza in Midtown Manhattan, New York City.[9] The company is one of two successor companies to MCA Inc. (Music Corporation of America), the other being Vivendi through its subsidiary Universal Music Group.



Early history

NBC and Universal Studios had a long standing partnership dating back to 1950. Universal Media Studios' 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 even after Revue Studios became Universal Television, then Studios USA after it was split off from Universal, and then back to Universal Television.

NBC Universal's headquarters is in the GE Building in New York City


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 2006).

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.

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.

In 1999, NBC took a 32% stake in the Paxson group, operator of PAX TV. Five years later, NBC decided to sell its interest in PAX TV and end its relationship with PAX owner, Paxson Communications.

In 2002, NBC acquired the US-Spanish language broadcaster Telemundo, which included the bilingual Mun2 Television. That same year NBC acquired the cable channel Bravo.

Combining with Universal

NBC Universal logo (May 11, 2004–January 28, 2011)

In 2003, amid a major financial crisis caused by over-expansion, Universal Studios' parent company, Vivendi Universal Entertainment (a division of 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.[4] 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, and Cloo (formerly Sleuth). Universal Music Group was not included in the deal and is not part of NBC Universal.[10]

On May 12, 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, mun2, Syfy, ShopNBC, Telemundo, Cloo, USA Network and the Olympic Games on cable). NBC Universal Cable also manages the company's investments in A&E, the History Channel, History Channel International, the Biography Channel, National Geographic International, and TiVo. The cable division also used to operate NBC Weather Plus until 2008.

Global expansion

NBC Universal Chicago headquarters (NBC Tower).

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).[11][12]

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."[13]

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 the upcoming channel, KidsCo.[14] Later that fall, the company also acquired the Oxygen network in a separate $925 million deal.[15] 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.[16] Shortly after the acquisition completed, NBC announced that their existing TV weather network, NBC Weather Plus, would be shut down by December 31, 2008.

The summer of 2008, marked NBC Universal's first venture into the United Kingdom by acquiring British television production company Carnival Films.[17]

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,[18] Geneon Universal Entertainment Japan.[19]

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.[20] The name change also allows for a rebranding of the channel as offering "imagination-based entertainment" (including science fiction but also fantasy, the paranormal, adventure and others).[20] Network officials also noted that, unlike the generic term "sci fi" which represents the entire science fiction genre, the term "Syfy" can be protected by trademark and therefore would be easier to market on other goods or services without fear of confusion with other companies' products. The rebranding and name change took place on July 7, 2009.[21][22]

On August 27, 2009, A&E Television Networks (A&E) merged with Lifetime Entertainment Services (Lifetime),[23][24] giving NBC Universal an equal share of both Lifetime and A&E with The Walt Disney Company and Hearst.

On Wednesday, 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. The rebranding is part of an attempt to soften the channel's image in the manner of Chiller's sister channel Syfy. as well as a major marketing push for the channel, with Chiller a very visible presence at the 2011 San Diego Comic Con.[25][26] To quote Syfy and Chiller President Dave Howe, "We have very ambitious plans to grow this network as a brand."[25][26]

Universal Studios

Universal Studios became a part of NBC Universal as a result of the 2004 merger. In July 2005, rumors began to emerge that NBC Universal might buy DreamWorks SKG for around US$1.0 billion. Eventually, however, the studio – excluding DreamWorks Animation – was sold to Viacom, the parent company of Paramount Pictures, for just over US$1.6 billion, but has since become independent again.

Sale to Comcast

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.[6] Under the agreement, NBC Universal is 51% owned by Comcast and 49% by GE. 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.[6] 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.[6][27] Vivendi completed the initial transaction on September 27, 2010, selling a $2 billion stake to GE (approximately 7.66%).[7]

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.[28]

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.[29] 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.[30]

Other business

Parks and Resorts

NBCUniversal owns or licenses the following parks and resorts:


The website Hulu is a joint venture of NBCUniversal, Fox Entertainment Group, and ABC.[31] Hulu offers commercial-supported streaming video of select TV shows, movies, and other video. By the Federal Communications Commission, NBCUniversal and Comcast are required not to exercise any right to influence the conduct or operation of Hulu.[32]


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  1. ^ a b "GE 2009 Annual Report" (PDF). http://www.ge.com/ar2009/pdf/ge_ar_2009.pdf. Retrieved 2010-09-25. 
  2. ^ "Comcast and GE Complete Transaction to Form NBCUniversal, LLC" (Press release). Comcast Corporation and General Electric Company. 2011-01-29. http://www.comcast.com/About/PressRelease/PressReleaseDetail.ashx?PRID=1038. Retrieved 2011-01-29. 
  3. ^ 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
  4. ^ a b Jean-Bernard LEVY (May 13, 2004). "Overview of NBC Universal Merger" (PDF). Vivendi Universal. http://www.vivendi.com/vivendi/IMG/pdf/15_NBCUClosing_130504.pdf. Retrieved 2009-12-24. 
  5. ^ a b "TIMELINE: NBC, Universal through the 20th century and beyond". Reuters. December 3, 2009. http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE5B22SO20091203. Retrieved 2009-12-24. 
  6. ^ a b c d Wilkerson, David B.; Steven Goldstein (2009-12-03). "Comcast scores controlling stake in NBC Universal". MarketWatch. http://www.marketwatch.com/story/comcast-to-buy-nbc-stake-as-venture-formed-2009-12-03. Retrieved 2009-12-03. 
  7. ^ a b "Vivendi Sells $2 billion NBC Universal Stake to GE". CNBC. September 27, 2010. http://www.cnbc.com//id/39376134. 
  8. ^ Lost in the Comcast Takeover? A Logo's Peacock, New York Times, January 29, 2011
  9. ^ "NBC Universal to sell Burbank, Calif, studio". MarketWatch. October 11, 2007. http://www.marketwatch.com/story/nbc-universal-to-sell-burbank-calif-studio-site-report. Retrieved August 28, 2009. 
  10. ^ "Company Overview". NBC Universal. http://www.nbcuni.com/About_NBC_Universal/Company_Overview/. Retrieved 2009-12-02. 
  11. ^ Exclusive: Sleuth Gets A New Name: Meet Cloo, TV Guide, April 7, 2011
  12. ^ Exclusive: Newly Rebranded Cloo TV Picks Up First Original Series TV Guide July 15, 2011
  13. ^ "NBC Universal Re-Names NBC Universal Television Studio as Universal Media Studios" (Press release). NBC Universal. 2007-06-14. http://www.thefutoncritic.com/news.aspx?id=20070614nuts01. Retrieved 2009-12-02. 
  14. ^ Eric Pfanner (August 28, 2007). "NBC Universal buys 18 Hallmark channels outside the U.S.". International Herald Tribune. http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/08/28/business/nbc.php. Retrieved 2009-12-02. 
  15. ^ Michael Learmonth (October 10, 2007). "NBC U Sucks in Oxygen". Daily Variety. p. 1. 
  16. ^ SETH SUTEL (July 7, 2008). "NBC Universal to buy The Weather Channel for $3.5B". The Sydney Morning Herald. http://news.smh.com.au/technology/nbc-universal-to-buy-the-weather-channel-for-35b-20080707-32qb.html. Retrieved 2009-12-02. 
  17. ^ Conlan, Tara (2008-08-20). "NBC Universal buy Carnival". guardian.co.uk (London: Guardian News and Media). http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/aug/20/television.usa1. Retrieved 2008-08-20. 
  18. ^ "Geneon to Merge with Universal Pictures Japan". Anime News Network. November 12, 2008. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2008-11-12/geneon-to-merge-with-universal-pictures-japan. Retrieved November 13, 2008. 
  19. ^ "Geneon Universal Entertainment Japan Official Website" (in Japanese). http://www.geneonuniversal.jp/. Retrieved 2009-02-22. 
  20. ^ a b "Syfy Frequently Asked Questions". Syfy. http://www.syfy.com/faq/. Retrieved 2009-12-02. 
  21. ^ Elliott, Stuart (March 16, 2009). "Sci Fi Channel Has a New Name: Now, It's Syfy". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/16/business/media/16adcol.html. Retrieved 2009-12-02. 
  22. ^ Syfy: Not Your Father's Sci-Fi, Fortune, July 7, 2009
  23. ^ A&E Acquires Lifetime, Variety.com, August 27, 2009
  24. ^ A&E Networks, Lifetime Merger Completed, Broadcasting & Cable, August 27, 2009
  25. ^ a b Chiller Takes a Chill Pill
  26. ^ a b Chiller Announces Major Redesign, TV By the Numbers, October 20, 2010
  27. ^ "Vivendi to Sell 20% Stake in NBCU to GE for $5.8 Bln". The Wall Street Journal. December 3, 2009. http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20091203-704378.html. [dead link]
  28. ^ "UPDATE 2-U.S. regulators approve Comcast-NBCU deal". Reuters. January 18, 2011. http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN1824165520110118?feedType=RSS&feedName=technology-media-telco-SP&rpc=43. 
  29. ^ Vivendi Wraps Up Sale of NBC Universal Stake, Wall Street Journal, January 27, 2011
  30. ^ 8-K filed on 01/31/2011 General Electric Company
  31. ^ Brady, Shirley (2007-08-29). "NBC and Fox Jump Through Hulu Hoop". Cable360.net. http://www.cable360.net/competition/web/25376.html. Retrieved 2007-08-29. 
  32. ^ MO&O (1/20/11), FCC Grants Approval of Comcast-NBCU Transaction, Comcast Corporation and NBC Universal, Federal Communications Commission

External links

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