|Comcast CEO Brian Roberts
Mr. Roberts extolled the virtues of the video-on-demand platform his company has built out. In 2004, Comcast had 1.4 billion VOD orders from the 8.5 million subscribers that have on-demand programming.
â€śWe can work the TV model into that targeted, just-what-people-want world,â€ť he said. â€śFor an advertiser? Hello ... if youâ€™re an advertiser you want to be talking to us.â€ť
Mr. Roberts compared the value of Comcastâ€™s niche-targeted VOD offerings to that of Google -- giving people, after a targeted search, exactly what they want.
â€śThatâ€™s why Google and other companies have called us and said they want to work together,â€ť he said.
Mr. Roberts also addressed his companyâ€™s lagging stock price, which is down 20% from its 12-month high. He said Comcast sold 2.5 million new products, including digital cable, voice services and high-speed data, but only lost 100,000 basic subscribers.
â€śI have set a personal goal that we worry less about the stock,â€ť he said. â€śYou have to shut it out of your life and try to run the company with a sense of enthusiasm.â€ť
He didnâ€™t comment on whether OLN was in the market for the Major League Baseball package still up for grabs, but called the National Football League Thursday-Sunday package that the network had sought a â€śunique one-offâ€ť that didnâ€™t work out. (Those games will appear on the league-owned NFL Network.)
Sony MGM partnership
He also sidestepped a question as to what kind of cable channels Comcast is building out through its partnership with Sony MGM. (In 2005 Comcast was part of a consortium of investors that joined Sony in its acquisition of the once-fabled movie studio.)
â€śWe havenâ€™t announced it. ... Weâ€™re trying to figure out how to best exploit the Sony MGM relationship,â€ť he said. So far the relationship has manifested itself in a deep movies-on-demand offering using Sony MGMâ€™s library of films.
He estimated the company will increase the number of VOD-enabled homes thanks to the introduction of a low-cost box that will give the 60% of analog customers on-demand access.
â€śWeâ€™ll take on-demand benefits from [just less than] 9 million customers to all 25 million customers [pending the Adelphia merger] with most of it at no cost,â€ť he said. The Federal Trade Commission last week gave Comcast and Time Warner Gave the go-ahead to begin consolidating their operations in key markets following the joint buyout of Adelphia by the two cable giants.
Comcast also said today it is getting set to conduct a trial in the next month of Nielsen's On Demand reporting service that measures video on demand usage.