NBCU’s Clarifications on NBBC’s Closure

NBCU thinks I had recast NBBC’s closure in too much of a negative light last week. Call me naive. Much like I think NewCo has an expensive writedown written down in its not-so-distant future.

Anyway, so George Kliavkoff, Chief Digital Officer of NBCU, explained NBBC’s closure in a “positive” light, paraphrased below:
— An external valuation put a price tag on NBBC that gave affiliates “a good return” after their 14-month investment. No numbers given. Those shares were bought back the Friday before, allowing the official closing process to start so it can be turned over to NewCo.
— The technology for NBBC forms the basis of NewCo.
— Some NBBC content providers are already part of newsite — CNET, Sundance, among them. They will get large revenue share splits — a majority of the gross revenue — and a much larger distribution area. NBBC didn’t have any portal deals.
— There will be a “short gap” between NBBC folding and NewCo starting.
— The employees are being given opp at NewCo.

Meanwhile, some affiliates give their side of the story in this MediaWeek story: “We weren’t sure of the [NBBC] deal to start with,” said Alan Frank, president, CEO of Post-Newsweek Stations. “The affiliates partnered with them and then it went away; it wasn’t a happy occurrence.” Affiliates won’t have as much control in New Site as they did in NBBC.

An interesting aside: read this story in Variety, about how TV networks opened their own broadband channels with much fanfare as little as two years ago, and have now abandoned or changed their strategy since then.