Comcast One Step Closer To Owning NBC Universal

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Vivendi has negotiated a tentative $5.8 billion deal to sell its minority stake in NBC Universal to General Electric Co. This means that GE is closer to being able to sell NBC to Comcast.

From the WSJ:

If finalized, the Vivendi-GE agreement will clear the final major obstacle to a sperate deal GE worked out weeks ago to give Comcast control over NBC Universal. A tentative deal was reached with Comcast which values NBC Universal at about $30 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

What do you think of Comcast owning NBC Universal?

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

    Any comment from Scheinhardt Wig?

  2. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Comcast having greater control over anything is really just a bad idea. They seem to fudge everything they DO have control over as it is – including my cable service!

  3. JohnDeere says:
  4. idip says:

    So does anyone else see an issue with this?

    If a cable operator owns it’s own network is it possible we will see repercusions?

    Anyone thinking that Comcast will spin this in a way to charge consumers for viewing this content to make their money and then some back.

    For some reason I don’t see this as a good idea. What will it mean for Comcast’s competitors?

    • duncanblackthorne says:

      I kind of wonder that there isn’t some sort of anti-trust issue here. Isn’t Comcast creating a monopoly of sorts?

    • hairyseaword says:

      Of course they’re going to “spin” a way to charge for content, they’re in the business of making money. Comcast is clearly trying to get away from being the dumb pipe and actually owning a stake in content creation. Seems like a sound business decision to me.

      • idip says:

        The thing I’m worried about… is that I have Time Warner Cable, If comcast acquires NBC Universal, are they (Comcast) going to start charging cable providers additional fees to provide NBC Universal channels to Time Warner customers, or any other competitor for that matter.

        I can see them doing this… all the while leaving it cheaper or free for their own customers.

        • West Coast Secessionist says:

          TWC isn’t a competitor of Comcast. They service different areas. i.e. no one can choose between TWC or Comcast–it’s usually one or the other. Comcast doesn’t want to drive TWC out of business, although they probably want to buy them. The next Repub president will probably let them do so.

          Anyway, the guys Comcast wants to drive out of business by any means necessary is Dish and DirecTV. Those are the only non-Comcast choice that Comcast customers might turn to.

          You can bet that all the local NBC affiliates that NBC owns & operates (they have a lot of O&Os), and the NBC cable channels like Bravo, etc. will start giving crap to Satellite providers, and Fios, Uverse, etc. And by crap I mean INCREDIBLY HIGH carriage cost.

    • tape says:

      Well, Comcast does own (or partially own) several cable networks already. E!, G4, Versus and the Style Network, to name a few.

      Not that any of these have the weight or cultural significance of NBC. Nor that I approve of a cable carrier owning a broadcast network. I’m just sayin’, they already own channels.

      • clint07 says:

        And they are currently in a negotiations battle with DirectTV over Versus. So to me they have already shown that they are going to be problematic about this sort of thing

    • Tim says:

      Well, Time Warner owned 84% of Time Warner Cable up until this past March. It’s possible that the spin-off was for anti-trust reasons, but I doubt it.

  5. duncanblackthorne says:

    No good will come of this.

  6. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    Comcast has already shown they can’t be trusted with a network. Indy Racing has suffered a huge blow because Comcast won’t let DirecTV carry Versus.

  7. DerangedHermit says:

    It’s not good when a cable company owns everything (see: Cablevision).

  8. savdavid says:

    Actually, I hate Comcast and I think NBC has gone down the toilet so I am fine with Comcast getting stuck with this turkey.

  9. Gtmac says:

    See United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc. of 1948

    Comcast treads on the same anti-trust ground. Of course there are so many other violations of those principles these days that that alone won’t be likely to stop it.

  10. Trai_Dep says:

    This is evil. I’d be resigned if it were only GE’s cable properties going to Comcast, but it irks that the broadcast properties, using OUR airwaves, are being shuffled from one mega-corp to another.
    That said, I’m glad to see GE is divesting. It’s a bad idea for a major defense contractor to own such a major PR-spewing platform. (Although: Comcast much different? More like similarly crappy air-whipped, HFSC-enriched ice milk in a different artificial flavor)

  11. cessna7686 says:

    I could see this hurting Hulu if Comcast decided to pull all NBC media from Hulu and switch it over to Fancast. It would all still be online but it’s nice to have everything in one place.

  12. tsume says:

    I would like to see them spending money improving and expanding their cable infrastructure rather than trying to monopolize another industry.

    • karmaghost says:

      Instead of taking what they have and making it better, Comcast is doing what AT&T did with its cellular network; make yourself bigger by throwing a bunch of money around, buying up other companies/networks/infrastructure/etc. instead of, say, expanding and improving your current network where you already have roots.

      Though I will say that Comcast rolled out docsis 3.0 in my middle-of-nowhere-town not too long ago, but I imagine that’ll be the last upgrade this network gets in a long time.

  13. theblackdog says:

    I don’t see this working out well, especially for sports fans in the DC area. I could just see Comcast blacking out the NFL Sunday Night game if the Redskins are featured, forcing you to watch it on MASN instead. Don’t have Comcast? Oh so sorry….

    • selianth says:

      I don’t think they can do that legally. Something about the rules they have to follow so the NFL can keep its exemption from anti-trust laws, or something. Local games *have* to be broadcast on an over-the-air station.

      • zlionsfan says:

        Right. Providers don’t have control over blackouts: the NFL tells providers what they can and cannot show.

        And Comcast would be well advised not to challenge the NFL, at least not in that context. The NFL is very good at lawyerly stuff, and if Comcast tried anything, there are plenty of channels that would love to carry NFL games and don’t right now. I think it’d be much more likely that Sunday night games would move to TBS or something like that before Comcast got any kind of concession from the NFL.

      • zlionsfan says:

        Right. Providers don’t have control over blackouts: the NFL tells providers what they can and cannot show.

        And Comcast would be well advised not to challenge the NFL, at least not in that context. The NFL is very good at lawyerly stuff, and if Comcast tried anything, there are plenty of channels that would love to carry NFL games and don’t right now. I think it’d be much more likely that Sunday night games would move to TBS or something like that before Comcast got any kind of concession from the NFL.

  14. zacox says:

    The FCC needs to take a very close look at this acquisition. Comcast has been notoriously stubborn regarding certain aspects of their service and they play hardball with all comers on both sides (see Comcast vs. NFL Network, then on the flip side DirecTV vs. Versus (Comcast)).

    NBC Universal owns or co-owns so many television networks: USA Network, Bravo, The Weather Channel, SyFy, Sleuth, A&E, History Channel, Lifetime Networks, Oxygen, msnbc, Chiller, and several others that fall under the umbrella of the preceding. Add that to Versus, NHL Network, Golf Channel, Sportsnet, and other networks owned by Comcast.

    Can you imagine what would happen if Comcast suddenly decided to double the carriage fees for all those networks? DirecTV, Dish, Time Warner, Verizon, AT&T, and other cable distributors would suddenly be forced to either write larger checks or drop all those networks. If that happens, we all pay in one way or another!

    • doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

      The NFL is a bad example as well. How do they not lose their anti-trust exemption over the deal with DirecTV (keeping Sunday Ticket off cable) and their arcane TV rules to protect the ‘home teams’???
      I don’t like the Comcast/NBC deal but worse things can and have happened (XM/Sirius anyone?)

      • TouchMyMonkey says:

        I couldn’t give half a rat’s ass about sat radio because I don’t see the point, but you’re absolutely correct. If cable companies are allowed to control a large portion of cable content, I cannot see how that could possibly be a good thing. Like to watch Rachael Maddow, but don’t have Comcast? You might be SOL, as someone pointed out over at DailyKos this morning. Of course, Fox News will always be in the basic tier.

        Check it out – it’s good reading.
        http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/12/1/809433/-Want-Maddow-and-Olbermann-Then-this-cannot-happen

      • IphtashuFitz says:

        The Sirius/XM merger is also a bad example. In the case of Comcast we’re talking about a content distributor buying into the content they distribute and potentially blocking other distributors from carrying that content. The Sirius/XM merger didn’t block distribution of any content, it simply merged two distributors together. The same content is still available, and much of that content is still available for free via terrestrial radio. The only content exclusive to Sirius or XM (like Howard Stern, etc) is still there and is in fact now available on both services.

  15. tchann says:

    As someone who works with NBC Universal directly, the thought of actually working with Comcast makes me feel sick. I’ll have to see if I can find out what our NBC contacts thing of this whole deal.

  16. Flourless Algernon says:

    Hulu R.I.P

  17. Smashville says:

    While NBC obviously has a much larger viewership, what exactly is the difference between this and Time Warner owning the CW (at least until earlier this year)?

    • mbz32190 says:

      Actually, CW is also half-owned by CBS…the difference is, nobody watches the CW. I don’t really think they can be classified (at least unofficially) the same way NBC would.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        I was told that the CW is classified with the Big 4 networks only because they’re all available over the air without cable. That’s the only reason. In terms of money, the Big 4 will trump CW any day of the week.

        • nbs2 says:

          20 years ago, wouldn’t we have said that the Big 3 would trump Fox any day? I understand that a) we are talking about a member of the Bigs here and that b) I watched Fox 20 years ago, and CW is no Fox.

  18. ARP says:

    With Comcast obtaining greater control over the content and their reputation for playing hardball, all the more reason to get Net Neutrality in place.

    I think there are some antitrust/FCC issues as well.

  19. Colonel Jack O'neill says:

    I don’t see why all you people are complaining for, they buy them, so what.

    Comcast doesn’t charge people to watch Fancast, what makes you think they are gonna charge to watch Hulu? It would make sense for them to merge Fancast and Hulu, and maybe integrate it into their ON Demand, but first they would need to over the on demand menu.

    • tbax929 says:

      Yeah, I don’t think it’s a big deal. Comcast already owns other networks, and I don’t have a problem with them owning another one.

  20. robocop is bleeding says:

    A content producer should not be distributing the content of other producers. It’s just Bad News all around. I mean, look what happened to Marvel when they were being distributed by DC. For 10 years, DC was able to keep one of the major rivals capped to 8 comics a month. Marvel could have produced more, sure, but nobody would get to read it unless DC sent it out. So now imagine Comcast refusing to distribute programming that overlaps with NBC shows, either via cable or the internet.

    Urf. They could screw people in multiple ways:

    • Cant_stop_the_rock says:

      Comcast already is a content producer.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_assets_owned_by_Comcast

      (The noteworth ones are E!, G4 TechTV, Versus, and some of the other sports stuff)

      Granted, NBC probably gets higher ratings that the rest of their stuff combined, but I think they’d be shooting themselves in the foot if they chose not to carry some other popular content because it competed with NBC. Most people have more than one option for TV. (I’m fortunate to have 3 options, and will be leaving Comcast in one week :))

      • personwholives says:

        So long as they don’t decide to try and stop/drive out the OTA NBC affiliates, I’ll be fine with it, though not overjoyed. I mean the rest of comcasts “content” is all cable only stuff anyway, so we’ll have to see what they do with an OTA channel.

  21. pinecone99 says:

    I’m just concerned about how it will affect 30 Rock. Those GE jokes are hilarious.

  22. Spin359 says:

    I see a possible silver lining. they will axe that crappy new show jay has.

  23. Segador says:

    And behold, the Beast arose out of the C, and had seven heads and ten horns. And the lesser bease was able to excercise authority on behalf of the first Beast, and together with the first Beast they formed ComcastUniversal, and the smoke of the torment of their customers rose for ever and ever.

  24. Vulpine says:

    If this goes through, I will be boycotting NBC, Universal and Vivendi Entertainment.

  25. vladthepaler says:

    I’m not fine with it, so I picked the other one. But I’m only guessing that means Comcast should not own NBC.

  26. H3ion says:

    Comcast will be in control of the entity following the purchase and Huntley and Brinkley are spinning in their graves.

  27. HisShadowX says:

    NBC as a whole is a biased Liberal Company and General Electric in bed with the Obama Administrations and GE getting great deals for working with the Government on Obama Projects like the Unions, GE is actually making money like that. Otherwise under the leadership of Jeffrey R. Immelt has sunk the company.

    His changes to NBC and especially MSNBC has made it a joke of a news company and not to mention there was a nice stock holder revolt almost last meeting. So far various sub companies have been sold off from GE and their Motor Club is now owned by Allstate Motor Club.

  28. VagrantRadio says:

    Someone seriously needs to put a stop to Comcast. Hello, Government?

  29. ArmsAkimbo says:

    So does this mean that NBC’s prime time schedule will kick off somewhere between seven and ten P.M., but ultimately we’ll get called just before midnight and told they’re rescheduling the shows for the next day?

  30. xanxer says:

    I think the FCC needs to look at Comcast concerning monopoly and anti-trust issues.