By Merry Adderley
The Summer Olympics were postponed yesterday at the same time , Comcast warned investors in a SEC filing that it will continue to face pressure across its film, television and cable businesses.
The cable provider owns NBCUniversal, which has released its current film slate on streaming platforms and closed its theme parks.
The Olympics, which were supposed to anchor the launch of NBCUniversal’s new streaming service, Peacock, were officially postponed Tuesday morning.
The company has also had to suspend production of entertainment content as states like California and New York limit business operations and people’s movements.
Sky, the British broadcaster Comcast acquired in 2018, is also facing pressure as the United Kingdom institutes a three-week lockdown to slow the spread of coronavirus.
“At this point, it is impossible to predict such extent and duration and the degree to which supply and demand for our products and services, including advertising, will be affected,” the company said.
Big number: $1.25 billion. That is how much NBCUniversal sold in advertising for the Olympics as of the beginning of March. A spokesperson from NBCUniversal said it is working with its Olympics advertisers to mitigate the postponement.
What to watch for: Having lost about 20% of its market value in the last month, Comcast has fared better than rival Disney. The majority of Comcast’s revenue derives from its cable business, rather than NBCUniversal and Sky. However, the company warned that even that sector could see losses as consumers and businesses tighten their budgets.
The upside: Peacock is set for a limited debut in April and a full launch in July, and homebound audiences are adding on streaming services to fill up the hours. While it will not have the Olympics to draw viewers, it will have a near-bottomless well of procedurals like Law & Order: SVU and Chicago Fire. Plus, it has an advantage over splashy competitors like Disney+ and HBO Max: it’s free.
Crucial quote: “Given the unprecedented obligation we all face to contain COVID-19 globally, we fully understand the decision made by the IOC, Japanese government, and the health organizations they are working with to postpone the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics until 2021,” an NBCUniversal spokesperson said. “We have no doubt that the IOC and Tokyo Organizing Committee will put on an exceptional Games next year, and that the Olympic flame will once again unite the world and provide a light at the end of this tunnel.”