NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast Corporation (CMCSA), is gearing up to cover the Sochi Winter Olympic Games to be held in Russia on multiple devices. The company will not only broadcast 230 hours of live games but will also offer live streaming services on smartphones and tablets.
NBC Universal started promoting the Winter Olympic broadcast by distributing free 30-minute passes to its TV Everywhere customers. Just by downloading NBCOlympics.com or NBC's LiveExtra apps, customers will be able to watch the games on their preferred devices.
However, nearly 10 million wireless devices have access to the live event. Such initiatives undertaken by the company will not only spur interest among customers but will also create a separate revenue stream for the company.
Of late, the services of low-cost video streaming companies like Netflix, Inc. (NFLX) and Hulu are gaining immense popularity. However, most video streaming companies fail to offer live streaming of sporting events.
Hence, we believe that NBC Universal’s new initiative will boost subscriber growth going forward. The company has already gained 5 million subscribers in the last one month.
In 2011, NBC Universal won the U.S. telecast rights for the 2014 and 2018 winter games and the 2016 and 2020 summer games. NBC Universal outbid its closest rivals, ABC and ESPN networks controlled by Walt Disney Co. (DIS) and Fox Network controlled by News Corp. (NWSA) for the rights. NBC Universal will pay a total consideration of $4.38 billion for these four Olympic Games.
Comcast decided to distribute the coverage of these sport events across its cable and broadcast networks as well as its digital outlets. We believe by acquiring Olympics TV rights, NBC Universal will place its Versus Cable sports network as a major national sports channel, enabling it to compete with ESPN.
The company invested nearly $775 million for broadcasting live Sochi Winter Olympic Games in the U.S. So, it is yet to be seen if the investment generates profit.
Currently, Comcast Corporation carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
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