Monday, December 07, 2009

Comcast Mergeapocalypse Now

Alarms and worries are rising over the proposed takeover of NBC Universal by cable giant Comcast, a deal which Comcast promises will be pro-consumer and which most industry insiders view as the beginning of a "mergeapocalypse".

From the Consumerist:

Blocked content, rising rates, forced bundling, and more. Despite claims from NBC and Comcast that this merger would be "pro consumer," the end result will be more restrictions on what content consumers can access and how they can view it. And it will inevitably be more expensive. Consumer and media rights groups are urging the FCC and/or Department of Justice to either block the merger outright or impose very strict conditions to prevent the problems listed above. To read more about the proposed rules, visit FreePress's release on the merger."

From Daily Finance:

If the proposed $30 billion deal between General Electric (GE) and Comcast (CMCSA) for NBC Universal is approved, Comcast would lead the market with control of access to 25% of U.S. households. Moreover, Comcast-NBC would own prized content, including The Tonight Show, The Biggest Loser and Bravo's Real Housewives series, according to The Washington Post.

In all, Comcast-NBC would control 20% of Americans' television viewing hours -- which might give it the market power to charge higher prices to competing networks seeking its content -- particularly online -- and to consumers."

No matter the promises, that's a massive amount of media control of everything from production to distribution which seems to run contrary to most anti-trust laws of the past. There is a vast chasm between the pace of the internet/media growth and our current laws and few in Washington seem to even see it.

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