Comcast CEO Brian Roberts. Photo by Bloomberg
The Briefing

Why Comcast Should Sell NBCU: The Information’s Tech Briefing

Photo: Comcast CEO Brian Roberts. Photo by Bloomberg

Walt Disney’s December quarter results on Thursday, showing how well the company is doing in streaming, provided a fascinating contrast with NBCUniversal’s more risk-averse approach to the new industry, which we wrote about this week. And it is a reminder that when your corporate parent is focused on another business—NBCU is owned by broadband-cable TV provider Comcast—your ability to invest for the future can be compromised.

In the old-fashioned TV network and film business, where cord-cutting and the pandemic made for a tough 2020, NBCU is actually doing a little better than Disney. In the most recent quarter, for example, NBCU’s operations in those areas made more money than a year earlier while Disney’s equivalent businesses saw a slight dip in profits. Yet Disney continued to invest heavily in streaming.

Get access to exclusive coverage
Read deeply reported stories from the largest newsroom in tech.
Latest Articles
 
The Briefing Uber/Lyft Cloud
Microsoft’s Dubious Cloud Growth Tactic
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Photo by Bloomberg.
One of the more eyebrow-raising stories of this week, in a week full of big tech news, was that Microsoft is considering investing in India-based hotel chain Oyo. If true—and Microsoft declined to comment on the report, which appeared first in TechCrunch—it would be a truly bizarre use of the software giant’s cash resources. Forget, for a minute, that running budget hotels is about as far...
Latest Briefs
 
Microsoft Is ‘Primary Antagonist’ in DOJ’s Google Antitrust Case - Google Lawyer
Microsoft in Talks to Invest in Oyo at $9 Billion Valuation
Alibaba-Owned Turkish E-Commerce Site Trendyol Valued at $16.5 Billion
Stay in the know
Receive a summary of the day's top tech news—distilled into one email.
Access on the go
View stories on our mobile app and tune into our weekly podcast.
Join live video Q&A’s
Deep-dive into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles with our top reporters and other executives.
Enjoy a clutter-free experience
Read without any banner ads.
Zhang Lei (left) and Neil Shen. Photos by Bloomberg; AP
Exclusive Venture Capital Asia
Sequoia Capital vs. Hillhouse: Inside China’s Fiercest Investor Rivalry
Last fall, Sequoia Capital China, the Silicon Valley VC firm’s affiliate led by investor Neil Shen, pledged to invest $400 million in a new funding round for Full Truck Alliance, China’s “Uber for trucks.” Days later, Zhang Lei, the rival head of private-equity giant Hillhouse Capital Group, flew to Nanjing, met Full Truck’s CEO over dinner and arranged a $110 million investment in the same round, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Salesforce president and chief operating officer Bret Taylor at a Salesforce conference in 2019. Photo provided by Salesforce
Enterprise Startups
Bret Taylor Faces His Biggest Test at Salesforce
Five years ago, Salesforce paid $750 million to buy a startup called Quip that made an internet-based word processor and spreadsheet app meant to give Microsoft’s competing Office products a run for their money.
Producers of Group Nine's short film "Two Distant Strangers" at the Oscars. Photo by AP.
Exclusive Entertainment
How Vice, Vox and BuzzFeed Are Cashing In on the Streaming Boom
“Land of the Giants” is a podcast series from Vox Media’s Recode covering the history of tech companies including Amazon and Netflix.
Bumble signage at the Nasdaq when it went public in February. Photo by Bloomberg.
Markets
Where Has the IPO Lockup Gone? Tech Firms Trim Them Back
Some of last year’s most valuable tech initial public offerings, including Airbnb, Doordash and Snowflake, allowed pre-IPO shareholders to sell their stock before the traditional six-month waiting period expired.
Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai. Photo by Bloomberg.
The Briefing Google Apple
Big Tech's Boffo Performance
Apple, Microsoft and Alphabet each reported impressively robust earnings results for the June quarter, demonstrating that these giant companies continue to go from strength to strength even as they face greater regulatory scrutiny.
Photos by Bloomberg; Shutterstock. Art by Mike Sullivan
Amazon E-commerce
Amazon’s Roads to Nowhere
For months, residents of Margo Drive, a narrow residential street on the outskirts of Charlotte, N.C., have puzzled over this question: Why do gigantic semitrucks hauling cargo for Amazon keep rumbling down their one-lane, dead-end road?