Speaking Monday at the UBS media conference in New York, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts acknowledged NBC Universal's cable channels were the driving force behind Thursday's deal to buy a 51 percent stake from General Electric Co. The channels include CNBC and Bravo.
But he says Comcast's goal will be to improve the fourth-place network's ratings rather than abandon the broadcast business.
Overall, the cable model has emerged stronger during the recession. The slump in advertising sales has hurt the broadcast stations. Cable networks have been able to soften the blow by also drawing fees from cable and satellite providers for carrying the channels.