Comcast 1Q16 Earnings Call Notes

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Comcast (CMCSA) Brian L. Roberts on Q1 2016 Results

The balance between content and distribution shifts back and forth over time

“As to the relative value, these things evolve and go up and down, and the relationship between the two in terms of carriage disputes and other things, they’re both great businesses. And that was our fundamental premise all along. I think I first learned that being on Ted Turner’s board when Comcast was purely a cable company. It’s a worldwide business, it grows all (25:00) in different ways, but they’re in the same sort of system where together, the value tends to head in the same direction. And at any one time, one part of the ecosystem can be doing better than another part of the ecosystem, but in the end, we’re bringing great experiences to consumers. You need their content, you need innovative distribution technologies, and that’s how we’re running our company. And I hope that’s responsive to your question.”

I think there’s been a big shift to recognize that TV is still an important part of a marketing campaign

“So regarding the upfront, let me talk a little bit about the market. A year ago, a lot of advertisers pulled back and didn’t spend as much in the upfront. I think part of the thinking was we can always spend later and there’s plenty of places to spend our money on digital. I think the emotion of the market has swung pretty dramatically over the last year. I think people have come to the realization that broad television reach is really important in a campaign that digital has a place but television has a big place. And a lot of people, I think, who did not come into the upfront market last year paid significantly more in what has been one of the strongest scatter markets I’ve ever seen. So in terms of market dynamics, we’re going into the upfront season, I think, with a lot of wind at our back, and my prediction is that it’s going to be a strong upfront.”

Haven’t seen much change in cord cutting, cable is still a good business

“So, in terms of cord cutting, cord shaving, we don’t see much change at all. The numbers you – the 2% you talked about is not far off from what we’re seeing, and some of it is shaving and some of it is cutting. And the interesting thing about the Cable Network business is the overall resiliency. If you look at the affiliate stream and the advertising stream and the desire for advertisers to buy broadly-distributed, highly-rated cable channels being stronger than ever. So, as a business, it’s not going to grow – we’ve said before and we’ll say again, it’s not going to grow the way it did 10 years ago. But it’s still a good business for us, and we don’t see any major change, in terms of what’s going on with sub trends.”

It’s getting tougher to get ratings in broadcast, but when you do you get rewarded

” I would not have predicted this 10 or 20 years ago but it feels like Broadcast is getting stronger and stronger in this period. We have to keep putting good shows on and it’s tougher and tougher in a fragmented world to get a rating. But when you do, you do get – you get rewarded for it significantly.”

Neil Smit – President & Chief Executive Officer, Comcast Cable & Senior Executive Vice President

5G still in very early days, but looks like propagation distance is fairly short. We think we’re well positioned

“Let me speak to that. 5G is an exciting new platform, and it’s still in the very early days. We think that the propagation distance is fairly short, about 300 foot radius. The antennas are going to need space and power and backhaul, and it has – the spectrum doesn’t really pass through objects like trees and buildings very well. But we think we’re very well-positioned, because we have space and power and backhaul, as well as a field force to be able to install all the antennas and maintain the services and provide the backhaul that would be required. So we’re going to continue to monitor, it’s still a way – early in the game, and we feel well-positioned.”