Public Interest Groups Declare Comcast-NBC Would Hurt Consumers, Competition

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Josh Stearns, 413-585-1533 x204

Public Interest Groups Declare Comcast-NBC Would Hurt Consumers, Competition

WASHINGTON - Free
Press, Media Access Project, Consumer Federation of America and
Consumers Union are filing comments with the Federal Communications
Commission today to oppose Comcast’s proposed takeover of NBC Universal.

Free Press Policy Counsel Corie Wright
said, “The public interest community has offered a mass of evidence
that the proposed merger will hurt consumers and competition. In
response, Comcast has offered 600 pages of talking points, flawed
analyses and inconsistent statements. More importantly, for the FCC’s
review, Comcast has failed to demonstrate that the benefits of the
merger will outweigh its considerable harms.  In its current form, the
proposed merger suffers from a sizeable public interest deficit.”

Andrew Jay Schwartzman,
senior vice president and policy director of the Media Access Project,
said, "Our review of Comcast’s internal business planning documents
confirms what we said in our original petition. It shows that the goal
of this transaction is to use NBCU’s content to extend Comcast’s market
power into the Internet space. There are no conditions which can
ameliorate this problem; the Commission should reject the proposed
deal."

Mark Cooper,
research director of Consumer Federation of America, said, “Our
analysis of the thousands of pages of confidential documents that
Comcast and NBC were forced to make available for review demonstrates
not only that this merger will reduce competition, raise prices and harm
the public, but also that Comcast has been cynically hypocritical in
making statements to federal regulators that its own internal analyses
prove to be false. In an age of widespread corporate irresponsibility,
Comcast has set a new low by committing fraud in its public interest
filing.”

The public interest groups
urge the FCC to reject this merger, and to put the needs of the public
before the interests of big business. The filing makes clear, that if
this merger is allowed to go through, consumers will have fewer choices,
especially if they seek access to independent or diverse voices. It
will mean less innovation in the emerging market for online video, fewer
local voices and diminished media diversity.

As of yesterday, there were
33,049 filings in the Comcast docket, including 31,903 from Free Press
activists. 94 percent of comments submitted to the FCC express
opposition to the merger.

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Link to the executive summary of comments
to the FCC by Free Press, Media Access Project, Consumer Federation of
America and Consumers Union in opposition to Comcast's proposed takeover
of NBC.  http://www.freepress.net/files/FP_MAP_CU_CFA_Merger_Reply_ExecSummary_8.19.10.pdf

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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

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