Comcast CEO Roberts says new devices to bring content to consumers can only benefit Comcast

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

On the Call: Comcast CEO on Apple’s iPad

PHILADELPHIA — Comcast Corp., like its fellow cable operators, is watchful for any new technology or device that could mount a serious challenge to cable by bringing content directly to the consumer in and outside of the home.

Devices such as Apple Inc.’s new tablet device, the iPad, can bring TV shows, movies and other content using mobile networks and wireless Internet connections. The fear for companies like Comcast is that consumers will flock to such devices and discontinue their cable TV subscriptions.

Comcast’s pending acquisition of a 51 percent stake in NBC Universal is a way to mitigate that danger because the company will become a major owner of content, not just a distributor of it.

In a conference call with analysts, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts explained why consumers getting content from a variety of devices is good for Comcast.

QUESTION: Are these emerging platforms, particularly the Apple tablet and other new distribution platforms for content, a friend or foe of cable?

RESPONSE: This is an incredible time for innovation … And I don’t think it is ever been happening faster or more broadly, and there is going to be some hits and there’s going to be some misses.

What I think it is demonstrating and what is driving us is to have a company that is in a unique or very special place where all of our focus is on getting to the consumer with some of the Comcast products. And sometimes that will be at the expense of other Comcast products and sometimes it’s going to be an additive experience.

Personally, I don’t think people wanting more content on more devices … is anything but a good thing for our company.

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