For Immediate Release
Timothy Karr, 201-533-8838
Public Interest Groups Urge FCC to Deny Comcast’s Takeover of NBC
‘Anti-Competitive Impact Runs Wide and Deep’
WASHINGTON - On Monday, Free Press, Media Access Project,
Consumers Union and the Consumer Federation of America filed a "petition
to deny" with the Federal Communications Commission, calling on the
agency to reject Comcast's proposed acquisition of NBC Universal.
“The anti-competitive impact of this merger runs wide and
deep. The result would be higher prices, fewer choices and diminished
media diversity,” said Free Press Policy Counsel Corie Wright.
“Approval would allow Comcast to own a huge array of popular programs
and enable it to exert undue influence over the distribution of those
programs on the airwaves, cable and the Internet.”
“While some groups have suggested that the deal can be
approved subject to certain conditions, the harms of this merger are so
great that the Commission must deny the merger outright,” said Andrew
Jay Schwartzman, senior vice president and policy director of
Media Access Project.
Post merger, Comcast-NBCU would control one in five
television viewing hours in Comcast markets.
The filing makes clear that the merger is a bad deal for
consumers. If the government allows the merger to go through, Comcast
will raise prices, foreclose and block competitive entry, force unwanted
program “bundles” on other cable and DBS systems, and discriminate
against competing programmers seeking carriage.
The filing details how a merged company would have vastly
increased ability to choke off online video competition before it gets
off the ground. Comcast-NBCU could withhold NBC content from competing
with NBC-owned Hulu and Comcast’s own online video service.
NBCU’s large stable of video content, if combined with
Comcast’s cable systems, would enable the combined company to wield
awesome power to withhold content, raise costs for competing video
providers and force competitors to carry less desirable Comcast/NBCU
Free Press is a national, nonpartisan organization working to reform the media. Through education, organizing and advocacy, we promote diverse and independent media ownership, strong public media, and universal access to communications. Learn more at www.freepress.net