According to NBCUniversal president Steve Burke, Universal Pictures needs to focus on creating more film franchises and animated content because it lags behind the other film studios and TV networks by up to $1 billion per year.Burke told investors Thursday at a media conference that NBC doesn’t generate anywhere near the operating cash flow of rival networks CBS, ABC and Fox.
“There are four companies that each have the same infrastructure and yet one company is making on average $1 billion a year less than the other three,” Burke said. “Each of our competitors makes somewhere between $700 million … and maybe $1.5 billion more than we do and there’s no reason for that, other than we need to make better shows and we need to schedule them better.”
Burke hopes that by adding to both the “Fast and Furious” and “Bourne” franchises, NBCU can increase its box office performance. In the past, the studio released an animated film every 16 months. Now it will speed up that timeline to two films per year.
“Paranorman” is the most recent animated film by the company, and “Despicable Me 2” is set to hit theatres next July. But the most successfully recent film from the conglomerate is “Ted,” starring Mark Wahlberg and a talking teddy bear.
After the surprising success of “Ted,” Burke said his team are looking to make a sequel “as soon as we can.”
As far as NBC’s television programming, the network is already looking up. “The Voice” is averaging 11.5 million viewers and the new Matthew Perry show “Go On” averaged a strong 9.73 million viewers on Tuesday.
“Our stations got all the way down to making less than $150 million a year and this year they should make well over $400 million,” Burke revealed at the conference. “You need to have patience and put the right people in place, but broadcast is a tremendous opportunity.”
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