It would be better for NBC Universal to be owned by a media and entertainment company like Comcast than by a conglomerate like General Electric, says media executive Peter Chernin. He was the featured guest Monday, Nov. 16, 2009 at the annual Communication Leadership CEO Series, presented by CCLP in partnership with USC’s Marshall School of Business and USC Spectrum.
Chernin has been advising Comcast in its planned acquisition of NBC Universal. He did not receive compensation for his role in the talks other than a charitable donation made by Comcast to Malaria No More, a global health organization that Chernin chairs and co-founded.
The conversation before an audience of 500 students at USC’s Bovard Auditorium was led by CCLP director and USC University Professor Geoffrey Cowan. During the program, Chernin offered insights from his own experience in publishing, television and at the helm of one of the world’s largest media companies, News Corp, parent company to 20th Century Fox studios and Fox Broadcasting.
During the Q & A, a student asked about the Obama administration’s combative stance toward Fox News. Chernin said he thought it was an unwise strategy that the administration seemed to be reconsidering, accurately predicting that President Obama would soon sit for an interview with the cable television network.
Chernin made news with his analysis of the regulatory issues surrounding the Comcast/NBC deal. As reported by Bloomberg News, Chernin said Comcast won’t have to sell television stations to gain regulatory approval to own NBC Universal.”
“There is nothing on the books, nothing at the FCC, that prevents Comcast from buying NBC Universal,” Chernin is quoted. “It’s completely legal.”
As far as his plans now that he is no longer president of News Corp, Bloomberg reports “Chernin has a production deal on News Corp.’s Fox studio lot in Los Angeles. He said he’ll spend about 40 percent of his time making TV shows and films, 10 percent on the malaria foundation and 40 percent on entertainment industry business ventures.”