Comcast President Mike Cavanagh Says NBCU Parent “Committed To Reaching Fair Deal” With Guilds: CEO Brian Roberts Mostly Mum On Earnings Call

Mike Cavanagh, the president of Comcast who was recently named the de-facto head of NBC Universal, said the company remains “committed to reaching a fair deal [with actors and writers[ as soon as possible, so we can get back to doing what we do best, which making great content together.”

In a change, he kicked off the media giant’s post-earnings conference call today instead of CEO Brian Roberts. The hands-on chief executive spoke very little this time.

Disney CEO Bob Iger was excoriated by guild members for recent comments on CNBC calling the demands of striking guilds “unreasonable.”

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Cavanagh, a former banker who works closely with Roberts, added oversight of NBCU in April after the suden departure of Jeff Shell and has just restructured the entertainment business under four top executives with Donna Langley in the top studios chair. Asked to elaborate a bit more on the strike, and its impact on Peacock in particular, Cavanagh reiterated: “We are committed to reaching a fair deal with the guilds as soon as possible. Beyond that, you know, I’d just say it’s really, for all involved in the industry broadly, a prolonged work stoppage and the longer it goes, the worse it will be [and it] is obviously going to have a negative impact all around.”

Cavanagh called the financial impact of the work stoppage “manageable,” at least for now. The strikes “will shift studio working capital out of the near term… So probably, for 2023, a little bit lower working capital and higher cash flow, and the flip side of that in 2024.”

It won’t change NBCU’s strategy, he said.

As for Peacock, “I wouldn’t point out anything in particular related to strikes and its effect in 2023 or the second half of the year.”

Moving into 2024 and beyond, if the strike is prolonged, the impact “would be [on] ourselves and others — so a level playing field.”

More to come…

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