- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
European pay TV giant Sky will remain an autonomous part of Comcast and get the U.S. cable giant’s financial support to accelerate its growth, Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said in London on Tuesday as top executives met the latest addition to the company and showed off a special video message from Jimmy Fallon.
Speaking during an hourlong town hall meeting with Sky staff at the European pay TV giant’s headquarters in West London’s Osterley neighborhood, Roberts, Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch, NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke and Comcast CFO Mike Cavanagh lauded the mega-deal for Sky and the opportunities it creates, according to sources in attendance.
Burke showed a Jimmy Fallon video with a recorded message from the Tonight Show host, about 20 seconds long, welcoming Sky to the Comcast family, which got a strong reaction from Sky staff. Fallon said the company was “really excited” about the addition of Sky and “can’t wait to get going,” leading Sky staffers at the town hall event to tweet about his surprise appearance onscreen.
Roberts also got some Twitter love from Sky staffers for saying that Sky Central, where the event took place underneath a big glass box, was an amazing place. “This is the coolest venue I’ve ever had to speak in — I’m very intimidated!” he said, according to a tweet from one staffer.
The event was live-streamed across Sky’s operations in the U.K. and Ireland and followed similar events with the same executives at Sky’s offices in Munich and Milan on Monday. Sky News presenter Anna Jones hosted Tuesday’s London event. Twitter photos from attendees showed a venue, hallways and staircases full of staffers, with one source estimating that a couple of thousand people came out to see the new Sky owners.
Roberts in his remarks, which lasted about 10 to 15 minutes, discussed Comcast’s history, including his first job climbing up phone poles and selling cable services door to door. He also highlighted the importance of Comcast’s NBCU acquisition and why Sky makes a great fit for the company, highlighting its “entrepreneurial” approach.
He also emphasized that Comcast plans for Sky to become part of the company’s culture of independence and decentralized decision-making, while also highlighting that there would be opportunities to lean on each other and work together on key initiatives as part of what Comcast and NBCU have dubbed “Project Symphony.” Roberts’ bottom line was that the mega-deal for Sky was about helping the company and its people go and grow faster.
Cavanagh in his comments also highlighted the strategic fit of the companies and how secure the company was financially, while Burke talked about the content business.
Darroch, meanwhile, reiterated that he would continue to work at Sky and was excited about the road ahead.
During a question-and-answer session, someone asked Roberts about how Comcast until a few years ago did not have a good reputation for its customer service, while Sky has always gotten high marks for that. Roberts said that Comcast made customer service the number 1 product it sells, according to a source, which got a positive reaction from Sky staff.
Comcast has previously said that Sky’s stock would stop trading on the London Stock Exchange on Wednesday after 25 years of being a publicly listed company.
Comcast recently completed its acquisition of a 75 percent stake in Sky in a nearly $40 billion deal after beating out 21st Century Fox in a blind auction. Fox then sold its 39 percent stake in Sky to Comcast.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day