Public Interest Groups Warn Congress: Comcast Takeover of NBC Is Anti-Competitive
WASHINGTON -- In testimony prepared for the House and Senate
hearings Thursday on Comcast's proposed takeover of NBC Universal,
public interest groups Consumer Federation of America, Free Press and
Consumers Union argue that Comcast has both the incentive and the
ability to engage in anticompetitive practices if the government allows
Corie Wright, policy counsel for Free Press, said,
"In this testimony, we warn Congress, the FCC and the public about the
effects of the takeover: higher cable bills, less competition and the
concentration of power in one company across multiple media markets and
platforms. Comcast is already the largest cable operator and broadband
Internet access provider. Comcast will attempt to gloss over the fact
that this takeover involves the elimination of head-to-head competition
in the emerging online video market. If Comcast succeeds in bringing
the cable model to the Internet, then consumers will lose."
Mark Cooper, director of research for Consumer
Federation of America, who will be testifying at both the House and the
Senate hearings Thursday, said, "NBC does not make widgets. It makes
news and information, and it controls how Americans receive that news
and information, which is critical to our democracy. Comcast also
competes with NBC head to head for advertising revenue. NBC considers
Comcast the competition, especially for advertising revenue." Cooper
also noted that NBC and Comcast compete directly in at least 11 cities.
The testimony was submitted by Consumer Federation of America, Free
Press and Consumers Union to the Senate Judiciary Committee's Antitrust
Subcommittee and the House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology
and the Internet for the February 4, 2010, hearings on Comcast's
proposed takeover of NBC Universal.
To read the testimony, go to: www.freepress.net/files/Comcast_NBC_Testimony_of_Mark_Cooper_Senate_Judi...
For more information, go to: www.freepress.net/comcast