The media industry is abuzz with chatter about potential mergers between the major players. Comcast CEO Brian Roberts is having one of it.
“While there may be speculation on what we could do next, I’d like you to hear it directly from me,” Roberts said on the company’s fourth-quarter earnings conference call. “I love the company we have. So the bar continues to be even higher for us to do anything other than the plan you heard today.”
Roberts threw cold water on speculation that Comcast’s NBCUniversal would be interested in buying Warner Bros. Discovery. The comments also address speculation that it might have been looking at Paramount, which is entertaining its own suitors. Sherri Redstone, whose National Amusements company owns Paramount, is reportedly looking to sell off parts of the media company. In those hypothetical deals, Comcast could merge Peacock with either Max or Paramount+.
The chatter has emerged as all of the traditional big media companies have struggled with the transition to streaming, as the rise of cord cutting has disrupted their traditional revenue sources, and the move to offer services directly to consumers yielding big losses. Peacock added 3 million subscribers, but lost $825 million in the fourth quarter alone.
The prospect of more mergers, however, has caused some handwringing in the industry with concerns that further consolidation will diminish the quality of movies and shows going forward, with less opportunities coming from fewer, larger companies.
At least for now, Comcast seems uninterested in the wheeling and dealing — or at least speculation of it — and is sticking with its own assets.
Image credit: HBO