The word “DreamWorks” did not surface on the hourlong quarterly earnings call that Comcast brass held Wednesday morning.
Comcast investor relations exec Jason Armstrong started the call at 8:30 a.m. ET by advising the Wall Street analysts gathered that execs would not address “rumors about M&A” or anything related to the FCC’s pending auction of spectrum rights.
The previously scheduled call to discuss what proved to be a strong first-quarter performance for the cable giant came hours after the news broke that Comcast is in talks to acquire DreamWorks Animation at a price north of $3 billion.
Comcast chairman-CEO Brian Roberts was pressed to address in general terms his views on the value of content assets versus distribution assets. He didn’t take the bait but emphasized that Comcast is in a strong position because it has heft in both arenas that are under one roof.
“If you have more than one kid, you love them equally,” Roberts said. “They’re both great businesses. Everything is specific to the situation. We have very rigorous returns and our track record — it comes down to operating excellence. Both parts of the company are performing at an exceptional level in my opinion.”
NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke was enthusiastic about the health of Universal’s film business, which would likely benefit the most from the addition of DWA to the Comcast family.
“Five years ago we had one (film) franchise; today we have eight, and we’re hard at work trying to build more,” Burke said of Universal’s strategy. “We spend a lot of time trying to figure out where the films are in the arc of the franchise. We’re doing everything we can to make sure that they are fully monetized in consumer products around the world. We’ve made tremendous progress in the last five years.”