By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Comcast already raises its rates every year, and with less competition, they’ll jack up those numbers. It could cost more to get NBC shows on your cable or satellite system, and Comcast will have an incentive to promote NBC shows over local or independent programming, making it harder to find alternative voices on cable.
The merger also would eliminate the hard bargaining between distributors and content producers. The Comcast-NBC behemoth will also have motivation and the market power to enforce anticompetitive “bundling,” as well as price-gouge other cable companies.
Comcast will be motivated to move NBC’s video content behind a pay wall and stunt the growth of the Internet. Also, it will trigger a “merger wave,” as distribution companies and content companies muscle up to match the new threat posed by the vertically integrated Comcast.
Josh Silver, executive director of Free Press, the national nonpartisan organization founded in 2002 to lobby for more democratic and diverse media policy, is pushing the FCC — now Democrat-controlled — to block the Comcast/GE-NBCU merger for these reasons and more. Under the Republicans, the FCC rarely met a media merger it didn’t like.
Silver writes that the Comcast deal “would further starve Americans of the diversity already missing from our media marketplace. It raises the most basic antitrust issues for an administration that has declared both the importance of media diversity and an intention to be far more vigilant against anticompetitive conduct and abuses of market power.
“President Obama, Congress and federal agencies must acknowledge the serious threat this merger poses and take the necessary measures to prevent harm to competition and consumers. That means putting the American people first and corporate greed second,” Silver adds.
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