Blog Post

Comcast Interactive Media: Profitability On Track In ’08; More Purchases Ahead

Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA) Interactive Media is poised to turn a profit in 2008, according to EVP Sam Schwartz. He and CIM President Amy Banse discussed the state of the unit in a Reuters interview that follows closely on its announced acquisition of Plaxo. That acquisition followed the company’s purchase of Fandango a year earlier, though so far it sounds like partnerships with Google (NSDQ: GOOG) and Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) are the real moneymakers. Said Schwartz: “The Yahoo deal has been very lucrative for us and the Google (deal) continues to be lucrative and grow and we’ve bought a number of businesses… We’ll be there in 2008 in terms of profitability.” In terms of actual numbers or margins or anything like that, Schwartz and Banse didn’t get into it. Also, it’s not clear how profits look once you factor in the cost of its acquisition strategy — Schwartz says more are in the works, probably focused in the online entertainment space, as well as advertising.

Fancast: Comcast is in talks to bring the aggregation and streaming platform to customers at other cable networks. Banse tried to downplay the cannibalistic effects of the service: “We’re not asking programmers to collapse their windows because that’s how they make their money… We’re not saying everything needs to be online. We’re saying we can give you an on-demand experience on all platforms.” For more on this basic tension Saul Hansell at Bits discusses today what it took for Comedy Central to bring full Daily Show streams, potentially to the chagrin of cable partners like Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) Cable (and Comcast).

Yahoo: Comcast announced last April that it had selected Yahoo to provide display ads for its portal. As CIM grows larger and builds its out its own ad sales force, is that deal threatened? Schwartz would only say that the company is “very happy” with the Yahoo deal. Of course. Companies are always very happy with their existing relationships until the day they’ve had enough.