Consumers Union Raises Concerns about NBC-Comcast as Congressional Panels Prep for Hearings

For Immediate Release

Consumers Union
Contact: 

Kristina Edmunson or David Butler, 202-462-6262

Consumers Union Raises Concerns about NBC-Comcast as Congressional Panels Prep for Hearings

WASHINGTON - The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust and the House
Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet
will hold separate hearings on Thursday, February 4, about the proposed
sale of NBC-Universal to Comcast, Corp.

Mark Cooper, Director of Research for Consumer Federation of
America, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and NBC-Universal CEO Jeff Zuckerman
will testify at both hearings. Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher
of Consumer Reports magazine, joined Consumer Federation of America in submitting testimony.

In anticipation of the hearings, Consumers Union Policy Analyst, Joel Kelsey, made the following statement:

"This should be the first of many hearings on this media merger,
which is colossal in its scope and size. If you allow a TV network that
owns 26 television stations, 29 cable networks, and one of five major
movie studios to merge with the nation's largest cable company and
residential broadband provider, there is great potential for
significant consumer harm. This merged giant is likely to result in
higher cable and Internet rates for consumers, less free online video
content and fewer choices for consumers. Congress should look at this
merger with a very skeptical eye. Lawmakers need to stand up and be a
voice for consumers."

NBC-Universal Fact sheet:

26 television stations, owned under the "NBC Universal" division.

Cable Channels: NBC Entertainment, NBC News, NBC
Sports, NBC Television, NBC Universal, CNBC, CNBC World (Arabia, India,
Asia, Europe), MSNBC, Bravo, Sci Fi Channel, Telemundo, USA, Oxygen,
Weather Plus, Mun2, Sleuth, Chiller, Universal HD, A&E Networks
(25%; includes A&E, the History Channel, History en español, the
Biography Channel, Military History Channel, Crime & Investigation
Network, A&E HD, the History Channel HD, History International),
the Weather Channel (partial), Sci-Fi Channel HD.

Online Video: Currently, NBC owns 32 percent of online video distributor Hulu.

Production Studio: NBC Universal has 80 percent
ownership of Universal Pictures, Focus Features and Rogue Pictures, as
well as production agreements with other smaller production companies.

Comcast Fact Sheet:

Cable Provider: Comcast Corporation is the nation's
largest video provider and largest residential Internet service
provider. According to Comcast, as of September 2009, the company has
23.8 million cable subscribers and 15.7 million high speed Internet
subscribers. Comcast serves customers in 39 states and the District of
Columbia.

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