December 3, 2009
By Peter Key
Philadelphia Business Journal
The deal announced Thursday that would give communications giant Comcast Corp. control of NBC Universal Inc. will be a boost for the Philadelphia area if it goes through, although whether the boost is economic as well as psychological won’t be known for a while.
If nothing else, the deal will help promote the city as a place where entrepreneurs such as Comcast co-founder Ralph Roberts and his son, Comcast Chairman, CEO and President Brian Roberts, can start a company and turn it into a global powerhouse — and a highly visible one at that.
“We have other global companies, but this one’s in a very visible industry and that I think can put Philadelphia and the region into a different light,” said Steven Wray, the executive director of the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia.
All indications are that NBC Universal’s operations will be staying where they are, which, aside from the theme parks, is largely in the Los Angeles and New York areas.
But just the fact that Comcast will wind up controlling NBC Universal’s properties as well as its own cable networks could put Philadelphia on the national media map much as the formation of CNN put Atlanta on the national media map in the early 1980s.
“I don’t know that it’s going to have the same big effect ... but I think it’s definitely going to call attention to the city,” said Neil Kleinman, the dean of the College of Media & Communications at the University of the Arts.