Comcast CFO Touts New Universal Studios Theme Park in Beijing

Courtesy of Comcast
Comcast CFO Michael Cavanagh

"Maybe five years down the road, we'll be opening in Beijing," Michael Cavanagh told market watchers in Boston.

Comcast CFO Michael Cavanagh on Monday talked at an investor conference about Super Nintendo World and other resort attractions eventually landing in Beijing after being launched at Universal Studios Japan in 2020.

"Japan is a great park. We're glad to buy that one in. And in coming years, maybe five years down the road, we'll be opening in Beijing," Cavanagh told the J.P. Morgan Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference during a session that was webcast.

Universal Studios has already unveiled plans for Nintendo-themed and other resort attractions at Universal Studios Japan, Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood. Cavanagh's comments to investors at the Boston conference went beyond that to talk about Super Mario Bros. and other entertainment properties possibly being brought to life in China as Comcast-owned NBCUniversal turns them into resort attractions.

"Once you spend the money to create and conceptualize something like the attractions you'd put in a Nintendo World, if you're going to have an ability to leverage that across multiple parks, you'd rather own than license out our name," he told the J.P. Morgan conference.

On the TV advertising front, Cavanagh, who is also senior executive vp at Comcast, said he was bullish on the national advertising picture. "Overall, the message on national is that the decline in ratings that has been happening has been offset by an increase in CPMs and advertisers staying with TV advertising and that economic model continuing to work," he said.

Cavanagh also touted stepped-up investment at Telemundo in helping get that broadcaster closer to market-leader Univision in the Spanish-language TV market. He added ratings growth at Telemundo will be followed over time by affiliate fee increases.

"We will be able to do much better profit-wise with Telemundo," he predicted. Cavanagh also forecast a strong 2017 for the NBCUniversal film unit with the releases of Fifty Shades Darker, Get Out and the latest in the Fast & Furious franchise.

Including DreamWorks Animation, theme parks and consumer products smoothed out the volatile ups and downs of the film business, the exec said. "We're not in the business of taking big swings without seeing how that picture fits into an overall portfolio," Cavanagh told market watchers.