NBCU Joins Media’s Biggest League

A video shown at last week’s press conference announcing the official union of NBC and Universal asked attendees to “imagine the possibilities of this 24-hour cross-platform machine.” For the moment, that’s all one can do.

Executives were short on details about how they plan to leverage the properties, which include TV networks, a station group, a film studio and amusement parks. What is clear is that the new entity, with expected annual revenue of $15 billion, joins the ranks of media behemoths Time Warner, News Corp. and Viacom.

NBC chief Bob Wright, who now heads the merged company as chairman and CEO, touted the deal as the “purest content play.” He said NBCU will promote properties across all platforms and offer all programming assets to advertisers and distributors. NBCU’s stable includes USA, Sci Fi Channel, Bravo, Trio, Telemundo, MSNBC and CNBC.

Keith Turner will oversee NBCU sales and marketing, with Jeff Lucas, president of Universal Television Group sales, reporting to Turner as head of NBCU Cable Sales.

The cable networks will be sold together with NBC during the upfront. Expect more integrated deals similar to Sci Fi miniseries Five Days to Midnight, which OMD and its clients are sponsoring exclusively.

“I think NBCU has learned from the mistakes of past mergers, especially AOL’s heavy-handed synergy approach,” said Peter Olsen, director of national broadcast for Grey’s MediaCom.