NBCUniversal

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NBCUniversal, Inc.
Division00000000000000000000
Industry Mass media
Predecessor NBC Line:
GE
RCA
Universal Line:
Vivendi Universal
Universal Entertainment
Seagram
MCA Inc.
Founded
  • November 8, 2004; 13 years ago (2004-11-08)
    (as NBC Universal, Inc. – merger between National Broadcasting Company and Vivendi Universal Entertainment)[1][2]
  • January 29, 2011; 6 years ago (2011-01-29)
    (as NBCUniversal Media, LLC, subsidiary of new NBCUniversal, LLC – joint venture between Comcast and General Electric)[3]
  • 2011; 6 years ago (2011) (as NBCUniversal, Inc. – merger of NBCUniversal Media, LLC and NBCUniversal, LLC)
Headquarters Comcast Building
30 Rockefeller Plaza

New York, New York 10112
, United States
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
Ron Meyer
(Vice Chairman)
Steve Burke
(CEO)
Revenue IncreaseUS$28.462 billion (2015)[4]
Increase US$4.819 billion (2015)[4]
Parent Comcast
Divisions NBCUniversal Television Group
NBCUniversal Cable
NBCUniversal News Group
NBC Sports Group
Universal Pictures
Subsidiaries Focus Features
Hulu (30%)
Telemundo
Fandango (70%)
Telemundo Studios
Universal Pictures
Universal Parks & Resorts
The Weather Channel (25%)
EuronewsNBC (25%)
Amblin Partners (minority)
Craftsy
Website www.nbcuniversal.com

NBCUniversal, sometimes referred to as NBCU or NBCUni and formerly written as NBC Universal, is an American multinational media conglomerate. Headquartered in Rockefeller Plaza's Comcast Building (formerly the GE Building) in Midtown Manhattan, New York City,[5] the company is one of two successor companies to MCA Inc. (Music Corporation of America), the other being Vivendi through its subsidiary Universal Music Group.

NBCUniversal is primarily involved in the media and entertainment industries; among its most significant divisions are NBC, one of the United States' "Big Three" television networks, and the major film studio Universal Studios. It has a significant presence in broadcasting through a portfolio of domestic and international properties, including terrestrial and pay television outlets. Via the Universal Parks & Resorts division, the company is also the third-largest operator of amusement parks in the world.[6]

NBC Universal was formed in 2004 by the merger of General Electric's National Broadcasting Company with Vivendi Universal's film and television subsidiary Vivendi Universal Entertainment, after General Electric had acquired 80 % of the subsidiary, giving Vivendi a 20 % share of NBC Universal.[7][8] In 2011 Comcast attained 51 % and thereby the control of newly reformed NBCUniversal, by purchasing shares from GE, while GE bought out Vivendi. Since 2013, the company is wholly owned by Comcast, which bought GE's ownership stake.[9]

History[edit]

Early history[edit]

NBC and Universal Television had a partnership dating back to 1950, when Universal Television's earliest ancestor, Revue Studios, produced a number of shows for NBC (although they would have some hits on the other networks as well), this partnership continued throughout a number of name changes and changes of ownership.

Television[edit]

NBC Universal Television has its modern roots in a series of expansions undertaken by NBC; in the late 1980s, NBC began pursuing a strategy of diversification, including the formation of two NBC-owned cable-television networks: CNBC and America's Talking. NBC also had partial ownership of several regional sports channels and other cable channels such as American Movie Classics and Court TV (until 2007).

In 1995, NBC began operating NBC Desktop Video, a financial news service that delivered live video to personal computers, the following year, NBC announced an agreement with Microsoft to create an all-news cable television channel, MSNBC (using its subscriber base from America's Talking network). A separate joint venture with Microsoft included establishing a news website, MSNBC.com (now NBCNews.com).

In 1998, NBC partnered with Dow Jones & Co. The two companies combined their financial news channels outside the US. The new networks included NBC Europe, CNBC Europe, NBC Asia, CNBC Asia, NBC Africa, and CNBC Africa.

In 1999, NBC took a 32% stake in the Paxson group, operator of PAX TV. Five years later, NBC decided to sell its interest in PAX TV and end its relationship with PAX owner, Paxson Communications.[10]

In 2001, NBC acquired the US Spanish-language broadcaster Telemundo, which included the bilingual Mun2 Television, that same year NBC acquired the cable channel Bravo.

Combining with Universal[edit]

NBC Universal logo: Television Studio (August 2, 2004 - August 7, 2008) and Television Distribution (September 13, 2004 - January 28, 2011)

In 2003, amid a major financial crisis caused by over-expansion, Universal Studios' parent company, Vivendi Universal Entertainment (a division of Vivendi Universal, now Vivendi), decided to sell an 80% stake to NBC's parent company, General Electric, the sale and resulting merger formed NBC Universal. The new company was 80% owned by GE, and 20% owned by Vivendi,[7] the joint venture encompassed Vivendi's US film interests (such as Universal Studios), production and distribution units, as well as five theme parks, cable television channels including USA Network, Sci-Fi Channel, the defunct Trio, Cloo (formerly Sleuth), as well as 50% stakes in Canal+ and StudioCanal (with Vivendi owning the rest). Universal Music Group was not included in the deal and is not part of NBC Universal.[11]

On August 2, 2004, the television divisions of NBC and Universal Television were combined to form NBC Universal Television. NBC Studios series bought into the company include the NBC dramas Las Vegas (with DreamWorks SKG), Crossing Jordan, and American Dreams. Universal Network Television bought the Law & Order franchise and The District—in fact, Universal Network Television had co-produced American Dreams with NBC before the merger. Entertainment shows produced by the new group include The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Last Call with Carson Daly, and Saturday Night Live.

The formation of NBC Universal saw the establishment of NBC Universal Cable, which oversees the distribution, marketing, and advertisement sales for thirteen channels (Bravo, Bravo HD+ (eventually renamed Universal HD), Chiller, CNBC, CNBC World, MSNBC, NBC Universo, Syfy, ShopNBC (which became ShopHQ after NBCUniversal sold its stake in the network), Telemundo, Cloo, USA Network and the Olympic Games on cable). NBC Universal Cable also manages the company's investments in The Weather Channel and TiVo, the cable division also used to operate NBC Weather Plus until 2008. It also owned a 50% stake in Canal+ and also owned a 15% stake in A+E Networks until 2012.[12]

Global expansion[edit]

NBC Universal Chicago headquarters (NBC Tower)

In the early 1990s, NBC began its expansion throughout Europe by creating CNBC Europe and its long-time successful NBC Europe Superstation by broadcasting NBC Giga throughout Germany and the rest of the European Union. NBC Europe helped to develop the Leipzig-based Games Convention, the largest European video game exposition with more than 100,000 visitors each year.

In 2005, NBC Universal joined HANA, the High-Definition Audio-Video Network Alliance to help establish standards in consumer electronics interoperability. Later that year, NBC announced a partnership with Apple Computer to offer shows from all the NBC Universal TV networks on Apple's iTunes Store.[13]

In January 2006, NBC Universal launched a new cable channel, Sleuth, the channel's programming dedicated to mystery/crime genre. Sleuth Network's initial slogan was "Mystery. Crime. All The Time." In early 2008, the channel unveiled a new slogan, "Get Clued In." On August 15, 2011, Sleuth rebranded as Cloo, in order to be able to trademark and own the name, as NBCUniversal cannot so with the name Clue (as Hasbro owns the rights to it with their board game Clue). NBCUniversal also explained that another reason for the name change was the word "Sleuth" is too common for search engines (a Google search brings up over 9,530,000 results).[14][15]

One year later after Sleuth's debut, NBC Universal announced that the company would launch a horror-themed cable channel, Chiller, on March 1, 2007, at launch Chiller would be available exclusively on DirecTV. The network would feature films like Psycho and The Shining and TV series that include Twin Peaks, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Freddy's Nightmares, Friday the 13th: The Series, War of the Worlds and Tales from the Crypt. NBC Universal also stated that, aside from the content in their own vaults, Chiller will feature content from other studios as well; in 2009, Chiller unveiled a new slogan, "scary good". This replaced the channel's previous slogan "Dare To Watch".

On June 14, 2007, NBC Universal Television Studio was renamed Universal Media Studios, the company explained that the reason for the name change was because "the new name fully describes the company's mission to be the premier content provider for television and digital platforms, spanning all television dayparts and creative genres."[16]

In August 2007, NBC Universal purchased Sparrowhawk Media Group and renamed it NBC Universal Global Networks,[17] this acquisition gave NBC Universal all Hallmark channels outside the United States, plus the British channels Diva TV, Movies 24, Hallmark Channel and KidsCo.[18] Later that fall, the company also acquired the Oxygen network in a separate $925 million deal,[19] the sale was completed one month later.

In the summer of 2008, NBC Universal, Blackstone Group and Bain Capital announced their intentions to buy The Weather Channel from Landmark Communications. The deal closed on September 12, 2008.[20] Shortly after the acquisition completed, NBC announced that their existing TV weather network, NBC Weather Plus, would be shut down by December 31, 2008.

In July 2008, Universal Cable Productions split off from Universal Media Studios and moved into NBCUniversal's NBCU Cable Entertainment division.[21]

The summer of 2008 marked NBC Universal's first venture into the United Kingdom by acquiring British television production company Carnival Films.[22]

On November 12, 2008, NBC Universal acquired 80.1% of Geneon Entertainment from Dentsu in Japan, merging it with Universal Pictures International Entertainment to form a new company,[23] Geneon Universal Entertainment Japan.[24]

On March 16, 2009, NBC Universal-owned cable channel Sci Fi announced that it would be changing its name to Syfy, replacing a generic term with a proprietary brand name that can be trademarked,[25] the rebranding and name change took place on July 7, 2009.[26][27]

On August 27, 2009, A&E Television Networks (A&E) merged with Lifetime Entertainment Services (Lifetime),[28][29] giving NBC Universal an equal share of both Lifetime and A&E with The Walt Disney Company and Hearst.

On October 20, 2010, NBC Universal-owned horror/suspense-themed cable channel Chiller announced a major rebranding campaign incorporating a new logo and on-air look that launched on Wednesday, October 27, 2010.[30][31] Syfy and Chiller President Dave Howe said, "We have very ambitious plans to grow this network as a brand."[30][31]

Comcast era (2011–present)[edit]

10 Universal City Plaza in 2015 after Comcast acquired GE's remaining stake in NBC Universal. Notice the wording on the top of the building changed.

On December 3, 2009, after months of rumors, a deal was formally announced in which Comcast would buy a stake in NBC Universal from GE.[32] Under the agreement, NBC Universal would be controlled with a 51% stake by Comcast and GE would retain the remaining 49%. Comcast paid $6.5 billion cash to GE. The deal includes a provision under which Comcast must contribute $7.5 billion in programming including regional sports networks and cable channels such as Golf Channel, Versus, and E! Entertainment Television. GE used some of the funds, $5.8 billion, to buy out Vivendi's 20% minority stake in NBC Universal.[32] Under the terms of the deal, Comcast reserves the right to buy out GE's share at certain times, and GE reserves the right to force the sale of their stake within the first seven years.[32][33] Vivendi completed the initial transaction on September 27, 2010, selling a $2 billion stake to GE (approximately 7.66%).[34]

U.S. regulators approved the proposed sale on January 18, 2011 with conditions. Comcast would have to give up NBC control over online video site Hulu, and ensure NBC Universal programming is available to competing cable operators.[35]

On January 26, 2011, Vivendi sold its remaining shares in NBC Universal to GE, giving GE complete control of the company ahead of the completion of the sale of 51% of the company to Comcast on January 28, 2011.[36] Comcast and GE formed the joint venture holding company NBCUniversal, LLC. NBC Universal, Inc. became a wholly owned subsidiary of the holding company and was renamed as NBCUniversal Media, LLC.[37] Later that year, these two companies merged to become NBCUniversal, Inc.

Comcast had planned to buy out GE's 49% stake over the following seven years, but ownership of NBCUniversal remained split at 51–49% for two years, until the February 12, 2013 announcement that Comcast intended to complete the $16.7 billion purchase early, all at once. The sale was completed on March 19, 2013.[38][39][40]

Originally, the NBC Universal logo was a combination of the NBC peacock logo and the Universal Studios globe and text, the logo was redesigned by Wolff Olins on January 31, 2011 to reflect the new Comcast ownership[41] and the unity of its two main divisions.[38]

The corporation on July 19, 2012 formed the NBCUniversal News Group with the NBC News, CNBC, and MSNBC divisions.[42]

In February 2013, NBCUniversal merged its two cable divisions, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment & Cable Studios and NBCUniversal Entertainment & Digital Networks and Integrated Media, into one unit while moving out Telemundo and Mun2 to a new division, NBCUniversal Hispanic Enterprises and Content. The move also created the corporate-level position of executive vice president in charge of digital ventures;[43] in July, the company placed NBC TV Stations and Telemundo's O&Os stations into a new division, NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations, with New England Cable News being transferred into NBC TV Stations.[44]

On April 28, 2016, NBCUniversal officially announced its intent to acquire DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 billion.[45] Universal Pictures will take over the distribution for DreamWorks Animation films after their deal with 20th Century Fox Film Corporation expires. The sale was approved by board members, but was subject to regulatory approval,[46][47] on June 21, 2016, the acquisition was approved by the U.S. Department of Justice.[48][49] On August 22, 2016, the deal was completed, and DreamWorks Animation is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Comcast-NBCUniversal,[50] this will give Universal Pictures distribution to both DreamWorks Animation and Illumination Entertainment films beginning in 2019.

On February 15, 2017, Universal Studios acquired a minority stake in Amblin Partners, strengthening the relationship between Universal and Amblin,[51] and reuniting a minority percentage of the DreamWorks Pictures label with DreamWorks Animation.

On May 1, 2017, NBCUniversal was announced that Sprout would be re-launched as Universal Kids on September 9, 2017, the re-branded network will revamp its evening and primetime programming to target youth and family viewing, with plans to incorporate new original series targeting the demographic (such as Top Chef Junior), as well as other international imports (such as the Australian series Nowhere Boys and the Canadian series The Next Step). The remainder of the network's programming will continue to consist of preschool programming under the Sprout brand, occupying 15 hours per-day of programming from 3:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET.[52]

Universal Pictures' recent acquisition of DreamWorks Animation will also be leveraged by Universal Kids to bolster its programming; critics felt that the DWA purchase and the launch of Universal Kids were meant to help NBCUniversal establish a viable multi-platform presence in children's media, and a competitor to other major children's brands such as Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, and Cartoon Network.[53][54][55][53][56][57]

On May 10, 2017, NBCUniversal announced that it had acquired Denver-based online platform Craftsy.[58]

Units[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Comcast and GE Complete Transaction to Form NBCUniversal, LLC" (Press release). Comcast Corporation and General Electric Company. January 29, 2011. Retrieved January 29, 2011. 
  2. ^ Detailed Description of the Transaction, Appendix 2, Comcast-GE-NBCU Voluntary Commitments – January 28, 2010, Comcast, GE and NBC Universal File Public Interest Statement with FCC
  3. ^ "NBCUniversal website as at 14 April 2011 - note copyright notice". Archived from the original on April 14, 2011. Retrieved May 25, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "COMCAST CORP FORM 10-K (Annual Report)" (PDF). Comcast. p. 146. Retrieved February 10, 2016. 
  5. ^ "NBC Universal to sell Burbank, Calif, studio". MarketWatch. October 11, 2007. Retrieved August 28, 2009. 
  6. ^ Rubin, Judith; Au, Tsz Yin (Gigi); Chang, Beth; Cheu, Linda; Elsea, Daniel; LaClair, Kathleen; Lock, Jodie; Linford, Sarah; Miller, Erik; Nevin, Jennie; Papamichael, Margreet; Pincus, Jeff; Robinett, John; Sands, Brian; Selby, Will; Timmins, Matt; Ventura, Feliz; Yoshii, Chris. "TEA/AECOM 2014 Theme Index & Museum Index: The Global Attractions Attendance Report" (PDF). aecom.com. Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). Retrieved 4 June 2015. [permanent dead link]
  7. ^ a b Jean-Bernard LEVY (May 13, 2004). "Overview of NBC Universal Merger" (PDF). Vivendi Universal. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 18, 2008. Retrieved December 24, 2009. 
  8. ^ Keating, Gina (December 3, 2009). "TIMELINE: NBC, Universal through the 20th century and beyond". Reuters. Retrieved December 24, 2009. 
  9. ^ Lieberman, David. "Comcast Completes Acquisition Of GE’s 49% Stake In NBCUniversal". Deadline.com (March 19, 2013).
  10. ^ Carter, Bill (August 23, 2004). "NBC Universal And Paxson: An Odd Dance To a Divorce". The New York Times. Retrieved March 31, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Company Overview". NBC Universal. Archived from the original on December 27, 2010. Retrieved December 2, 2009. 
  12. ^ de la Merced, Michael J. (July 10, 2012). "Comcast to Sell Back Its Stake in A&E for $3 Billion". DealBook. Retrieved April 17, 2013. 
  13. ^ Noguchi, Yuki (December 7, 2005). "NBC Universal, iTunes Team On Downloads of TV Shows". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 24, 2013. 
  14. ^ Exclusive: Sleuth Gets A New Name: Meet Cloo, TV Guide, April 7, 2011
  15. ^ Exclusive: Newly Rebranded Cloo TV Picks Up First Original Series TV Guide July 15, 2011
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  17. ^ "NBCUniversal | History, Acquisitions, & Facts". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2017-08-11. 
  18. ^ Eric Pfanner (August 28, 2007). "NBC Universal buys 19 Hallmark channels outside the U.S". International Herald Tribune. Retrieved December 2, 2009. 
  19. ^ Michael Learmonth (October 10, 2007). "NBC U Sucks in Oxygen". Daily Variety. p. 1. 
  20. ^ Seth sutel (July 7, 2008). "NBC Universal to buy The Weather Channel for $3.5B". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved December 2, 2009. 
  21. ^ Lafayette, Jon (July 20, 2008). "NBC Taps Cable-Studio Bosses". TV Week.com. Archived from the original on March 23, 2012. Retrieved August 15, 2012. 
  22. ^ Conlan, Tara (August 20, 2008). "NBC Universal buy Carnival". guardian.co.uk. London: Guardian News and Media. Retrieved August 20, 2008. 
  23. ^ "Geneon to Merge with Universal Pictures Japan". Anime News Network. November 12, 2008. Retrieved November 13, 2008. 
  24. ^ "Geneon Universal Entertainment Japan Official Website" (in Japanese). Retrieved February 22, 2009. 
  25. ^ Elliott, Stuart (2009-03-15). "Sci Fi Channel Has a New Name: Now, It's Syfy". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-08-11. 
  26. ^ Elliott, Stuart (March 16, 2009). "Sci Fi Channel Has a New Name: Now, It's Syfy". The New York Times. Retrieved December 2, 2009. 
  27. ^ Syfy: Not Your Father's Sci-Fi, Fortune, July 7, 2009
  28. ^ A&E Acquires Lifetime, Variety.com, August 27, 2009
  29. ^ A&E Networks, Lifetime Merger Completed, Broadcasting & Cable, August 27, 2009
  30. ^ a b Marc Graser. "Chiller takes a chill pill". Variety. 
  31. ^ a b Chiller Announces Major Redesign, TV By the Numbers, October 20, 2010
  32. ^ a b c Wilkerson, David B.; Steven Goldstein (December 3, 2009). "Comcast scores controlling stake in NBC Universal". MarketWatch. Retrieved December 3, 2009. 
  33. ^ "Vivendi to Sell 20% Stake in NBCU to GE for $5.8 Bln". The Wall Street Journal. December 3, 2009. [dead link]
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  35. ^ Thomasch, Paul (January 18, 2011). "UPDATE 2-U.S. regulators approve Comcast-NBCU deal". Reuters. Retrieved May 8, 2016. 
  36. ^ Vivendi Wraps Up Sale of NBC Universal Stake, Wall Street Journal, January 27, 2011
  37. ^ 8-K filed on 01/31/2011 General Electric Company
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  39. ^ Chozick, Amy; Stelter, Brian (February 12, 2013). "Comcast Buys Rest of NBC in Early Sale". The New York Times. Retrieved February 24, 2013. 
  40. ^ (2013-03-19) [1]. Deadline, "Comcast Completes Acquisition Of GE’s 49% Stake In NBCUniversal". Retrieved on March 19, 2013.
  41. ^ Lost in the Comcast Takeover? A Logo's Peacock, New York Times, January 29, 2011
  42. ^ "New York Deadline" Pat Fili-Krushel To Oversee NBCUniversal News Group deadline.com, Retrieved on July 23, 2012
  43. ^ James, Meg. (February 4, 2013) Bonnie Hammer to lead NBCUniversal cable entertainment channels. Los Angeles Times. Accessed on November 21, 2013.
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  45. ^ "Comcast's NBCUniversal buys DreamWorks Animation in $3.8-billion deal". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 28 April 2016. 
  46. ^ "Comcast is buying Dreamworks in a $3.8 billion acquisition". Washington Post. Retrieved 1 May 2016. 
  47. ^ "How A DreamWorks-Illumination Combo Beats Disney At The B.O". Deadline. April 29, 2016. Retrieved May 2, 2016. 
  48. ^ "Antitrust Officials Clear Comcast's $3.8B DreamWorks Animation Acquisition". Deadline. June 21, 2016. Retrieved June 23, 2016. 
  49. ^ "NBCUniversal's Ron Meyer: Here's why we bought Dreamworks Animation". CNBC. July 7, 2016. 
  50. ^ McNary, Dave (22 August 2016). "Comcast Completes $3.8 Billion Purchase of DreamWorks Animation". 
  51. ^ Perry, Spencer (February 15, 2017). "Universal Studios Buys a Minority Stake in Amblin Partners". Comingsoon.net. Retrieved February 20, 2017. 
  52. ^ Cite error: The named reference :0 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  53. ^ a b Steinberg, Brian (May 1, 2017). "NBCU's Sprout Grows Up: Universal Kids to Debut in September". Variety. Retrieved May 8, 2017. 
  54. ^ Getzler, Wendy (May 1, 2017). "A new age: Sprout to become Universal Kids". Kidscreen. Retrieved May 1, 2017. 
  55. ^ Barnes, Brooke (April 30, 2017). "NBCUniversal is Building Its Own Children's Channel". The New York Times. Retrieved May 1, 2017. 
  56. ^ "NBCU EVP Duccio Donati Takes on DreamWorks Channel". Animation Magazine. August 3, 2017. Retrieved August 4, 2017. 
  57. ^ "Duccio Donati tapped for new kids role at NBCUniversal". Kidscreen. August 4, 2017. 
  58. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (10 May 2017). "NBCUniversal Acquires Majority Stake in Craftsy Digital Network". Variety. Retrieved 23 May 2017. 
  59. ^ "Universal Studios Hollywood, Los Angeles, Hollywood". Universal Studios Hollywood. Retrieved August 21, 2010. 
  60. ^ "Theme Parks at Universal Orlando Resort". Universal Orlando. Retrieved August 21, 2010. 
  61. ^ "Comcast buys majority stake in Universal Studios Japan for $1.5 billion". 28 September 2015 – via Reuters. 
  62. ^ "Resorts World Sentosa - Universal Studios Singapore". Resorts World Sentosa. Retrieved August 21, 2010. 
  63. ^ Brady, Shirley (August 29, 2007). "NBC and Fox Jump Through Hulu Hoop". Cable360.net. Archived from the original on September 6, 2012. Retrieved August 29, 2007. 
  64. ^ Spangler, Todd (3 August 2016). "Time Warner Acquires 10% Stake in Hulu for $583 Million". Retrieved 8 August 2016. 
  65. ^ "Neither Comcast nor C-NBCU shall exercise any right to influence the conduct or operation of Hulu, including those arising from agreements, arrangements or operation of its equity interests (e.g., board seats, voting for directors or other shareholder matters, management and veto rights, etc.) and C-NBCU shall as and from the date of this Order hold its interest in Hulu solely as an economic interest." MO&O (1/20/11), FCC Grants Approval of Comcast-NBCU Transaction, Comcast Corporation and NBC Universal, Federal Communications Commission

External links[edit]