What is NBC?

According to abbreviationfinder, NBC Universal was founded in May 2004, the result of a merger between the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), owned by General Electric, and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, a subsidiary of Vivendi. Along with GE, US cable operator Comcast announced a purchase agreement for the company on December 3, 2009. After regulatory approvals, the transaction was completed on January 28, 2011. Comcast currently owns 51 percent of NBC Universal, while GE owns 49 percent.

The beginning

Originally, the NBC Universal logo was a combination of the NBC logo (resembling a peacock) and the Universal Studios logo (consisting of a globe and text). The logo was redesigned in January 2011 to reflect Comcast’s role as the company’s new owner.

NBC Universal is headquartered in Rockefeller Center in Midtown Manhattan in New York City. The company is one of two successors to the Music Corporation of America (MCA), the other being Vivendi through its subsidiary, Universal Music Group.


NBC and Universal Studios had a long association dating back to the 1950s. Universal Media Studios’ oldest ancestor, Revue Studios, produced a number of shows for the NBC network, though there would be some hits on the other networks as well. This association continued even after Revue Studios became Universal Television, then renamed itself Studios USA after it was spun off from Universal, and its name was later reverted to Universal Television.


NBC Universal Television traces its modern roots to a series of expansions made by NBC. In the late 1980s, NBC began pursuing a diversification strategy, including the formation of two NBC-owned cable television networks: CNBC and America’s Talking. NBC also had partial ownership of several regional sports and other cable channels, such as American Movie Classics (AMC) and Court TV.

In 1995, NBC began operating NBC Desktop Video, a service for financial news that delivered live video to personal computers. The following year, NBC announced an agreement with the Microsoft Corporation to create a cable television channel called MSNBC, which was based entirely on news and used the subscriber base of the America’s Talking channel. A separate ” joint venture ” with Microsoft included the establishment of a website for news, msnbc.com.

In 1998, NBC partnered with Dow Jones & Company. The two companies combined their financial news channels outside the United States. The new channels included NBC Europe, CNBC Europe, NBC Asia, CNBC Asia, NBC Africa, and CNBC Africa.

In 1999, NBC held a 32 percent stake in the Paxson group, the operator of PAX TV. Five years later, NBC decided to sell its interest in PAX TV and end its relationship with Paxson Communications, owner of PAX.

In 2002, NBC acquired Telemundo, a Spanish-language channel in the United States, which included the bilingual channel Mun2. That same year, NBC acquired the cable channel Bravo.

Combination with Universal

In 2003, in the midst of a financial crisis caused by overexpansion, Universal Studios’ parent company, Vivendi Universal Entertainment (a division of Vivendi), decided to sell an 80% stake to NBC’s parent company, General Electric. The sale and resulting merger formed NBC Universal.

The new company was owned 80% by GE, and 20% by Vivendi. The joint venture encompassed Vivendi’s interests in American cinema (including Universal Studios), its production and distribution units, five theme parks, such cable television channels as USA Network, The Sci-Fi Channel, the defunct Trio channel, and Cloo (formerly Sleuth). Universal Music Group was not included in the deal and is not part of NBC Universal.

On May 12, 2004, the television divisions of NBC and Universal Television combined to form NBC Universal Television. Series taped at the NBC studios that were purchased from the company included such NBC dramas as Las Vegas (with DreamWorks SKG), Crossing Jordan, and American Dreams.

Universal Network Television bought the Law & Order franchise and The District – in fact, Universal Network Television had co-produced American Dreams with NBC prior to the merger. Entertainment shows produced by the new group include The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Last Call with Carson Daly, and Saturday Night Live.

The formation of NBC Universal saw the establishment of NBC Universal Cable, which oversees distribution, merchandising, and advertising for thirteen channels: Bravo, Bravo HD+ (eventually renamed Universal HD), Chiller, CNBC, CNBC World, MSNBC, mun2, Syfy, ShopNBC, Telemundo, Cloo, USA Network, and cable coverage of the Olympics). NBC Universal Cable also manages the company’s investments in A&E Network, The History Channel, History Channel International, The Biography Channel, National Geographic International, and TiVo. The cable division was also used to operate NBC Weather Plus until 2008.

Sale to Comcast

On December 3, 2009, after months of rumors, a deal was formally announced in which Comcast would buy a stake in NBC Universal from GE. Under the agreement, NBC Universal is 51% owned by Comcast, and 49% by GE. Comcast paid $6.5 billion in cash to GE. The agreement includes a provision that Comcast must contribute $7.5 billion in programming, including regional sports channels and such cable channels as the Golf Channel, Versus, and E! Entertainment Television. GE used one of the funds, $5.8 billion, to purchase Vivendi’s minority 20% stake in NBC Universal. Under the terms of the agreement, Comcast reserves the right to buy out GE’s stake at certain times, and GE reserves the right to force the sale of its stake within the first seven years.

US regulators approved the proposed sale on January 18, 2011, with conditions. Comcast should relinquish NBC’s control of online video site Hulu, and ensure that NBC Universal’s programming is available to competing cable operators.

On January 26, 2011, Vivendi sold its remaining stake in NBC Universal to GE, providing GE with complete control of the company prior to the completion of the sale of 51% of the company to Comcast on January 28, 2011. Wall Street Journal, January 27, 2011 and Comcast GE formed the joint venture NBCUniversal, LLC. NBC Universal, Inc. became a wholly owned subsidiary of the partnership and was renamed NBCUniversal Media, LLC.

Global expansions

In the early 1990s, NBC began its expansion throughout Europe by creating CNBC Europe and its successful superstation by broadcasting NBC Giga throughout Germany and the rest of the European Union. NBC Europe helped develop the Leipzig – based Games Convention, Europe’s largest video game exhibition, with more than 100,000 visitors each year.

In 2005, NBC Universal joined the High-Definition Audio-Video Network Alliance (HANA) to help establish standards for the interoperability of electronic products. That same year, NBC announced a partnership with Apple Computer to offer shows from all NBC Universal TV channels on the Apple iTunes Store.

In January 2006, NBC Universal launched a new cable channel, Sleuth, with dedicated crime and mystery programming. On August 15, 2011, Sleuth was renamed Cloo, in order to be able to own the trade name, because NBCUniversal cannot be this with the Clue name (a name whose rights are owned by Hasbro, owner of the board game). Clues). NBCUniversal also explained that another reason for the name change is that the word “Sleuth” is too common for search engines (a Google search returns more than 9,530,000 results). TV Guide, April 7, 2011 TV GuideJuly 15, 2011

A year after Sleuth’s debut, NBC Universal announced that the company would launch a cable horror channel, Chiller, on March 1, 2007. When it launched, Chiller would be available exclusively through DirecTV. The channel would feature such movies as Psycho and The Shining and such television series as Twin Peaks, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Freddy’s Nightmares, Friday the 13th: The Series, The War of the Worlds, and Tales from the Crypt.. NBC Universal also stated that aside from content in its own vaults, Chiller would feature content from other studios as well.

On June 14, 2007, NBC Universal Television Studio was renamed Universal Media Studios, in order to fully describe the company’s mission to be the premier content provider for television and digital platforms, spanning all time slots and creative genres.

In August 2007, NBC Universal acquired Sparrowhawk Media Group and changed the name to NBC Universal Global Networks. This acquisition gave NBC Universal ownership over all of Hallmark’s channels outside of the United States, in addition to its British channels: Diva TV, Movies 24, the Hallmark Channel, and the upcoming channel, KidsCo. Later that fall, the company acquired the Oxygen Network in a separate deal for $925,000,000. The sale was completed a month later.

In the summer of 2008, NBC Universal, Blackstone Group, and Bain Capital announced their intentions to purchase The Weather Channel from Landmark Communications. The deal closed on September 12, 2008. Shortly after the acquisition was completed, NBC announced that its weather network, NBC Weather Plus, would close on December 31, 2008.

The summer of 2008 marked NBC Universal’s first UK venture with its acquisition of UK television production company Carnival Films.

On November 12, 2008, NBC Universal acquired 80.1% of Geneon Entertainment from Dentsu in Japan, merging it with Universal Pictures International Entertainment to form a new company.

On March 16, 2009, the cable channel Sci Fi, owned by NBC Universal, announced that it would change its name to Syfy, replacing a generic term with a trademark that can be registered.

On August 27, 2009, A &E Television Networks (A&E) merged with Lifetime Entertainment Services (Lifetime), giving NBC Universal an equal share of both Lifetime and A&E with The Walt Disney Company and the Hearst Corporation.

On October 20, 2010, the horror-thriller channel Chiller, owned by NBC Universal, announced a campaign to relaunch its brand, incorporating a new logo and image as part of an attempt to soften its image in the same way as its channel. brother, Syfy.

Other companies

Parks and resorts

NBC Universal, along with the Blackstone Group, owns the following parks and resorts:

  • Universal Studios Hollywood in Universal City, California
  • Universal Orlando Resort in Orlando, Florida
  • Universal Studios Florida
  • Universal’s Islands of Adventure
  • Wet ‘n Wild Orlando
  • Universal Studios Japan in Osaka (licensed by Universal Parks & Resorts, owned by Goldman Sachs)
  • Universal Studios Singapore in Singapore


The Hulu website is a joint venture of NBC Universal, Fox Entertainment Group, and the American Broadcasting Company (ABC). Hulu offers commercial-supported video streaming of select TV shows, movies, and other videos. Under orders from the Federal Communications Commission, NBC Universal and Comcast are obligated not to exercise their right to influence Hulu’s conduct or operation.

National Broadcasting Company (NBC)