Comcast-NBC Universal merger review hits FCC speed bump

MrPogi

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#1
Comcast-NBC Universal merger review hits FCC speed bump
(Washington Post)



A review of the proposed merger of Comcast and NBC Universal hit a speed bump Monday, as the Federal Communications Commission asked for more information from both companies.

The FCC asked dozens of questions (pdf comcast.doc) of both firms with answers due by Oct. 18, to better understand how the combined broadband, cable and media powerhouse could affect those industries and competitors. The questions also show that the agency is interesting in exploring how the merger could affect online video distribution and competitors in the field. The FCC has a broad mandate to determine how a communications industry merger affects the public interest.

Comcast said it expected its review to be approved by the Justice Department and Federal Communications Commission by the end of the year. The FCC declined to comment on its own timetable for its review.

update: The agency didn't announce the additional questions would delay its review and it didn't stop its review "clock" as it has in the past

--- Washington Post Story

And don't forget to sign the petition to stop the Comcast / NBC MEGATRON merger!
 

MrPogi

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#3
The FCC has a broad mandate to determine how a communications industry merger affects the public interest.
Comcast could make NBC a pay network. Or make it available only to Comcrap subscribers. Or do any damn thing it wants. "In the public interest" is the key, something the FCC really hasn't got a handle on. Or the government as a whole, for that matter.
 

n2rj

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Staff member
#4
Comcast could make NBC a pay network. Or make it available only to Comcrap subscribers. Or do any damn thing it wants. "In the public interest" is the key, something the FCC really hasn't got a handle on. Or the government as a whole, for that matter.
Comcast can't withhold NBC. Withholding the OTA NBC stations would be illegal under must carry rules and withholding the cable channels would be illegal under 628(b) of the communications act. Besides, they receive compensation per subscriber. It would be crazy to withhold their stations from a larger audience.

What this merger could do is put web video in danger because that is unregulated for the most part.
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
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#5
They could also move their most popular shows over to their cable networks. No law against that, right?

Remember, also, with the proper application of green lubricant, laws and rules can change. Besides, Comcast has a sterling reputation. They would never do that.
 

n2rj

Moderator
Staff member
#6
They could also move their most popular shows over to their cable networks. No law against that, right?
They can but the ratings will suffer. Besides, even if they do they can't withhold the networks from any cable provider. The FCC recently reaffirmed this with the decision sparked by the complaint against Cablevision/MSG by Verizon and AT&T.

Remember, also, with the proper application of green lubricant, laws and rules can change. Besides, Comcast has a sterling reputation. They would never do that.
It would take an act of Congress for what you are describing to happen. Won't happen in an election year. Comcast in fact already owns several cable networks, which aren't withheld from competing cable/satellite/fiber/ip providers.
 
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MrPogi

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#7
Agreed, but then as I said, things can and do change. Rememer, today ≠ tomorrow.
Election year will soon be over, and congress will remember after each election who filled their coffers, and reward them accordingly.

I think - and I think you'll agree - that this merger provides no benefit to consumers.
 

n2rj

Moderator
Staff member
#8
I agree that the merger provides no benefit to consumers.

But it is unlikely that the communications act will be changed to allow abuse of vertical integration. While Comcast has a lot of $, so do Verizon and AT&T. These guys are now players in the MVPD market. They are already fighting with cable companies that own TV networks such as Cablevision and Comcast and the communications act has been invoked more than once. As I said, it would require an act of Congress . Not going to happen.
 
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MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
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#11
"The Golden Poo"

Amazing that they beat out all the others, including Bank of America, for this prestigious honor.

I bet they are proud, and will display it in their reception area.
 

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