Subscribe in a reader
Subscribe to Philadelphia Tech News by Email
Comcast today announced it had reached a ten year agreement for the exclusive media rights to Santa Claus, through which it will use him and his image across all its multimedia platforms.
"Santa is a unique, universally beloved media personality", said Comcast Chairman & CEO Brian Roberts. "We believe he will be a great addition to the Comcast family. We will cover and cross-promote him across our various channels on broadcast and cable, as well as online, wireless and on-demand".
Comcast would not comment on the financial terms of the agreement, but industry sources said the deal was in the range of $2 billion over the ten-year period.
While some questioned whether the deal could be profitable for Comcast, one analyst compared Santa to the NFL package Comcast just spent a reported $9 billion to keep and enhance. "You just can't tell your kids they won't be able to watch Santa this year, at least I won't", he said , saying that the move will discourage cord-cutting among subscribers. Vice Chairman and CFO Michael Angelakis said that "this will absolutely be a profitable contract for Comcast".
Comcast says it will not restrict the use of Santa to its subscription-based cable channels, but rather he will appear on its over the air broadcast networks and stations, as well as in other venues. Although Santa will be busy with other duties over Christmas, he will make his first official appearance for Comcast at the Winter Claasic hockey game at Citizens Bank Park on January 2. He is already booked for an appearance on Leno, and there is some talk he may appear along side Howard Stern on "America's Got Talent". An appearance on the opening day of Xfinity Live! in Philadelphia is also a possibility. Comcast is also exploring other concepts and vehicles for Santa, including new TV shows and a possible "North Pole" theme park attraction at Universal Orlando. Comcast believes it can expand the Santa Claus franchise's appeal beyond the Christmas season and make him a year round attraction.
Santa attended the press conference Comcast held to announce the deal, making his first public appearance in Philadelphia since that infamous December day when Eagles fans pelted him with snowballs . He said he had no hard feelings about that, and that he and Mrs. Claus were pleased with the deal, saying it would help him keep up with the ever mounting expenses of his operation. Sanata has faced an increasingly difficult environment, due to rising energy costs, labor pressures from the elves who have organized with the SEIU and seek a minimum wage and collective bargaining rights, criticism from environmental groups concerned about Santa's impact on the North Pole, protests by PETA over Santa's alleged mistreatment of his reindeer, and complaints from politicians and trade groups over his preference for less expensive Chinese-made toys.