NBCUniversal Media, LLC is an American mass media conglomerate owned by Comcast and headquartered at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in Midtown Manhattan, New York City.
NBCUniversal is primarily involved in the media and entertainment industry. It is named for its most significant divisions, the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) — one of the United States’ Big Three television networks — and the major Hollywood film studio Universal Pictures. It also has a significant presence in broadcasting through a portfolio of domestic and international properties, including USA Network, SyFy, Bravo, Telemundo, Universal Kids, and the streaming service Peacock. Via its Universal Parks & Resorts division, NBCUniversal is also the third-largest operator of amusement parks in the world.
NBCUniversal was formed on August 2, 2004, with the merger of General Electric’s NBC with Vivendi Universal’s film and television subsidiary Vivendi Universal Entertainment, after GE had acquired 80% of the subsidiary, giving Vivendi a 20% share of the new company. In 2011, Comcast attained 51% and thereby the control of newly reformed NBCUniversal, by purchasing shares from GE, while GE bought out Vivendi. Since 2013, the company has been wholly owned by Comcast, which bought GE’s ownership stake.
NBC and Universal Television had a partnership dating back to 1950, when Universal Television’s earliest ancestor, Revue Studios, produced a number of shows for NBC (although they would have some hits on the other networks as well). This partnership continued throughout a number of name changes and changes of ownership.
NBC Universal Television has its modern roots in a series of expansions undertaken by NBC. In the late 1980s, NBC began pursuing a strategy of diversification, including the formation of two NBC-owned cable-television networks: CNBC and America’s Talking. NBC also had partial ownership of several regional sports channels and other cable channels such as American Movie Classics and Court TV (until 2007).
In 1995, NBC began operating NBC Desktop Video, a financial news service that delivered live video to personal computers. The following year, NBC announced an agreement with Microsoft to create an all-news cable television channel, MSNBC (using its subscriber base from America’s Talking network). A separate joint venture with Microsoft included establishing a news website, MSNBC.com (now NBCNews.com).