Liberty’s Malone: NBCU-Comcast Should Dump Affiliates

By Andrew Gauthier 


National TV advertising from the proposed Comcast/NBC Universal deal could give a big kick in the pants to the NBC broadcast operation — but a lot would have to happen, according to media industry icon John Malone.

“Arithmetically, it’s easy,” says Malone, chairman of Liberty Media, speaking on CNBC Monday. “Sloth off the [network] affiliates, and get back 100% of the ads. National [TV] ads are selling better than local.”

Media researcher SNL Kagan estimates that NBC pulls in $5.6 billion in advertising per year.

“You become a cable network,” he added. “You become the most powerful network. You would eclipse USA Network.” Malone was one of the main architects of the U.S. cable TV industry in the 1980s and 1990s — especially with his dominant cable system operation, Tele-Communications Inc.

Getting in the way of NBC becoming a cable network could be NBC affiliates, which hold federal broadcast licenses and considerable sway — overall federal agency approval of the deal. More…