Continuing to hammer away at the "we're moving on" messaging campaign adopted after the collapse of his company's attempted acquisition of Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) chief executive Brian Roberts told a group of investors Wednesday that the No. 1 cable operator is in no hurry to propose another megadeal.
"We're not feeling the need to rush out and do something," Roberts told interviewer Craig Moffett during an hourlong one-on-one during the second annual MoffettNathanson Media & Technology Conference in New York.
Roberts said his company isn't gun-shy about entering another merger agreement. Asked if he is concerned that federal regulators will reject any pact the conglomerate makes, Roberts said he was assured recently by a regulatory official that each deal is unique and evaluated on its own merits.
"You can't draw conclusions off this one deal," he said.
Speaking on a wide range of issues, Roberts used the forum to tout the overall health of Comcast as a stand-alone company--specifically, he highlighted the recent performance of NBC Universal, which has seen the NBC broadcast network rise to No. 1 in the 18-49 demo. Universal Pictures, meanwhile, has enjoyed its most successful release ever this spring, with Furious 7 taking in more than $1.466 billion at the worldwide box office, including more than $400 million in China, a record for a U.S. film.
Roberts also continued to plug the benefits of Comcast's X1 video platform, noting that only 27 percent of the cable company's triple-play subscribers have it. He said churn is 30 percent lower with X1 customers. "Pay-per-view usage and ARPU are also higher," he added.
Comcast, he noted, is in the first year of a three-year plan to get deployment of X1 into the majority of Comcast's footprint of nearly 22 million pay-TV homes.
Roberts was asked if that ever-shrinking footprint will ever grow again.
"I don't know the answer to that, and if I did know, I probably wouldn't tell you," he glibly responded. Roberts did say that he believes video subscriber losses will continue to decelerate at Comcast because his company's cloud-based video technology now surpasses satellite.
He also noted the landmark event unfolding at Comcast: the number of broadband subscribers has officially surpassed the number of video customers.
Roberts recalled speaking to Bill Gates in 1997, after the Microsoft founder and (at the time) CEO had invested a sizable amount in Comcast.
"He told me, 'Some day, you'll have more data customers than video customers,'" Roberts recalled. "I didn't know what he was talking about at the time, but I was happy to take the billion dollars."
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