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Burke: Comcast Loves Content

9/20/2004 8:49 AM Eastern

New York -- Fresh off joining Sony Corp. in its acquisition of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. and months removed from the failed run at The Walt Disney Co., Comcast Corp. president Steve Burke said Monday that the company’s executives “remain committed to the idea that content and distribution work well together, and we continue to do that by starting new cable channels.”

“We have a lot of new ideas for new channels,” Burke said at a marketing-themed gathering here sponsored by Forrester Research Inc., without spelling those ideas out.

In a side deal to a Sony-led group’s agreement to buy MGM for $4.9 billion, Comcast and Sony will work on possible new cable channels, and Comcast gained access to Sony and MGM titles for on-demand use.

For the most part, Burke -- who was asked to speak about the future of television -- stayed with Comcast’s oft-stated concept of TV getting more “personalized” and crossing over more and more with high-speed Internet service and with upcoming phone service using the Internet platform.

Asked by an audience member how Comcast would meet consumers’ need to watch TV on mobile devices, Burke said TV was still pretty “tethered” to rooms with big screens, but Comcast wants to make sure its Internet-based phones will work like landline handsets at home and shift to cellular phones outside of the home.

Consumers will want the device to unify their voice mails and e-mails, he said, adding, “How we get there, I think, is yet to be determined. Do we strike deals with a variety of wireless companies? Do we pick one wireless company and enter a more strategic relationship? We’re not sure.”

He also said the personalized-TV enablers -- digital video recorders and video-on-demand systems -- won’t compete or cannibalize each other. “We think the marriage of VOD for impulse purchase and [DVRs] for planned purchase makes a very powerful combination,” Burke added.

September