Comcast was at the center of the megadeals that came to define media and telecom in 2018.
It made a failed bid for 21st Century Fox assets, but came away with British broadcaster Sky. Comcast’s goal: Build a preeminent company that owns the pipes for distribution through Comcast Cable and premium content through Sky and NBCUniversal.
Consolidation has been shaking up the telecom and media universe. Disney acquired the 21st Century Fox assets this summer and is poised to launch a streaming juggernaut that rivals Netflix. AT&T acquired Time Warner, seeking content to compete with Facebook, Apple, Google, and Netflix.
Comcast created the blueprint for a vertically integrated telecom and media company with its 2011 acquisition of NBCU. But in an evolving media landscape, it has to keep up.
The Sky acquisition gives it an international footprint as competitors Disney and Netflix already have; and valuable sports rights, including the majority of Premier League football broadcasting. In Sky, Comcast picked up a satellite company at a time when the satellite industry is bleeding subscribers. AT&T’s DirecTV lost 650,000 subscribers in the fourth quarter alone.
The pay-TV industry is getting squeezed as programming costs for content skyrocket, and consumer continue to cut the cord, switching to lower margin video services, or dropping television packages all together.
Against this backdrop, Comcast will need to integrate its new business quickly and provide a superior product to customers who face a growing number of options for video services. AT&T and Disney’s streaming services will already be out when Comcast launches its product. Through its advertising management platform Freewheel, it has to work with the TV advertising industry to fight Google Ad Manager’s encroachment into ad serving.
Business Insider spoke to management within Comcast, surveyed industry analysts, and analyzed comments at investor presentations to identify the business units and its leaders that are key to carrying out its agenda.
Here are the people who are leading the telco giant forward.