Comcast looks to Sky for international expansion

Andy Uhler Jul 19, 2018
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Ian Waldie/Getty Images

Comcast looks to Sky for international expansion

Andy Uhler Jul 19, 2018
Ian Waldie/Getty Images
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Comcast said today it was giving up its bid to acquire Twenty-First Century Fox’s entertainment assets. Instead, Comcast said it will “focus on our recommended offer for Sky,” the U.K.-based broadcaster. Last week, Comcast upped its offer to $34 billion. Sky has until Aug. 22 to accept. So what does Sky have that Comcast wants?

  • International reach: Sky operates pay-TV satellite services in five European countries: the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy and offers streaming options throughout Europe. That, potentially, will generate far more international revenue for Philadelphia-based Comcast. Comcast generates less than 10 percent of its revenue from markets outside the U.S. If the deal goes through, analysts said Comcast will likely move quickly to distribute its NBC/Universal shows on the Sky networks across Europe. Eventually, shows and movies produced in Europe might end up on American TV as well.
  • More content: Sky has exclusive rights through 2020 to run HBO shows across Europe. It also has a large stake in Love Productions, the company that produces one of the most-watched shows in the U.K., “The Great British Bake Off.” Sky has the majority of Premier League soccer TV rights and exclusive rights to the German Bundesliga. Sky also has a contract with the NFL to cover the entire football season on European TV for years to come.
  • Paying customers: Sky has 22.4 million subscribers in Europe. Most customers pay a monthly fee for a satellite dish to receive TV service (similar to DirecTV in the U.S.) Sky also expanded its direct-to-consumer streaming capabilities over the last five years, introducing its NowTV service last year, which is similar to Amazon Fire TV.

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