Smit: NBCU will give Comcast programming 'synergies'

A merged Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA)-NBC Universal will be a fast-moving "test-and-learn" entity that will quickly develop and deliver new programming services, Comcast Cable President Neil Smit said during a luncheon Q&A at the 38th Annual UBS Global Media and Communications Conference.

"If you think about the content partner and distributor relationship now, you get together every four or five years and bang heads and walk away," Smit said, adding that the entities do get together "maybe once a year to discuss opportunities." Adding NBCU to the Comcast stable of companies, though, will enable "a very active test-and-learn conversation ... and I think it will drive more innovation and more value to the customer on a much shorter cycle," he said.

Smit, who said Comcast is still "hoping to close by year end," dismissed concerns others in the industry have had about increasingly contentious retransmission deals. While not specifically addressing how Comcast would handle talks with fellow service providers, Smit did note that "neither Comcast nor NBCU has been involved in a standoff where the customer has not been able to view our content" and that while he personally sees no need for regulatory involvement, "there's no predicting how it will go."

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