Conditions Sought For Comcast-NBCU DealAugust 19, 2010 at 1:14 pm | Posted in Aerospace Law Interfaces | Leave a comment
by Sara M. Langston with the blog faculty
Source: National Journal
A coalition of nearly 900 small and mid-sized cable companies urged the FCC today to impose conditions on the Comcast-NBC Universal merger if it gives a green light to the proposed media conglomerate.
“With the risks so high, the FCC must not fail to protect consumers,” said the president and CEO of the American Cable Association, Matthew Polka, as the group submitted comments on the merger to the FCC. Today is the deadline for filing comments.
The cable association called the Comcast-NBCU pact “the most serious threat to the media ecosystem in at least a decade, justifying regulatory intervention to prevent the media giant from harming competitors and their subscribers through the exercise of undue market power obtained as a result of the deal.”
Independent cable companies fear the merger will mean skyrocketing fees for carrying signals from NBC’s 10 owned-and-operated TV stations, Comcast’s nine regional sports networks and the two companies’ many national cable networks.
The association suggests that the FCC set three general conditions and four specific conditions for the merger to go forward. “In the main, ACA’s conditions would simplify contracts, lower arbitration costs, and contain special conditions for smaller operators that cannot afford baseball-style arbitration available to all pay-TV providers,” the group said.
For instance, one of the association’s proposed general conditions would require Comcast-NBCU to sell signals for NBC stations and regional sports networks on a stand-alone basis, not in bundles with other networks.