Why A Comcast/NBC Merger Is Bad News

As the Comcast/NBC mergepocalypse draws near, we wanted to remind readers of the ways that this is going to harm consumers (beyond the obvious things like 30 Rock being promised to come on between 6 and 10 pm and actually airing at 11:30). Join us for a sad look into the future.

Let’s Just Look At What Comcast/NBC Would Own
TV Stations: NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, Bravo, Chiller, CNBC World, mun2, Oxygen, Sleuth, Syfy, Universal HD, USA Network, The Weather Channel, E! Entertainment Channel, G4, Golf Channel, PBS Kids Sprout, Style, TV one, Versus, CN8, Exercise TV, FEARnet, AZN Television, a portion of MLB Network.

NBC owned and operated stations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Bay Area, Dallas/Fort Worth, Washington, Miami, San Diego, Connecticut.

Telemundo owned and operated stations in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Houston, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, San Antonio, Las Vegas, San Francisco/San Jose, Phoenix, Fresno, Denver, Boston, Tucson, Puerto Rico.

Film: Universal Pictures, Focus Pictures, Universal Studios Home Entertainment

Internet: Hulu (more on that below), iVillage, NBC.com, CNBC.com, Weather.com

That’s a lot of channels, and they’re ones that Comcast/NBC will be able to use as bargaining chips against other cable and internet providers who want to carry them. Comcast/NBC will have the incentive and means to discriminate against other channels that compete with NBC content, in favor of the NBC alternative.

For example, a recent story about the merger suggests that Comcast/NBC would challenge ESPN for sports content. Comcast’s own sports channel, Versus, would benefit from NBC’s pool of talent and production resources, but Comcast/NBC could prop Versus up in more ways. The most obvious thing Comcast could do to hurt ESPN, though unlikely, is refuse to carry the channel, thus depriving ESPN of all of Comcast’s cable subscribers. Another scenario is that whatever sports content that Comcast/NBC acquired and offered, like the Olympics, could be entirely exclusive to Comcast/NBC. That is, ESPN wouldn’t be able to run footage from Comcast/NBC events on SportsCenter. As a content and service provider, Comcast/NBC could even firewall its content, allowing only Comcast cable subscribers to see certain games or events. If Comcast/NBC decides not to block content entirely, they can still ransom it to other cable providers, charging higher prices for NBC content than NBC currently does. These expenses would of course be passed onto the subscribers.

More Mergers Will Happen, and Cable Rates Will Rise
If the Comcast/NBC merger goes through, it will lead to more media consolidation. Other service and content providers will merge in order to keep pace with Comcast/NBC, further limiting competition and increasing the possibility of collusion and price fixing, including rate increases. This was repeatedly seen in the late 1990s: after media ownership rules were relaxed, companies scrambled to buy up as many stations as they could to remain in equilibrium with each other (as a refresher, here’s a sickening breakdown of who owns what).

Say Goodbye to Free Streaming Video
Although Hulu has already announced that it will begin charging for content, Comcast’s acquisition of NBC, which, along with ABC and Fox, owns a substantial share of Hulu, would further harm the developing streaming video market. A merged Comcast/NBC would control both content—NBC programming—and distribution, and would have strong incentive to move its content behind its own pay wall. One hypothetical scenario would see Comcast/NBC pulling NBC content from Hulu, and making streaming NBC content available only to cable subscribers. Even worse, Comcast/NBC could further restrict streaming content to customers who subscribe to cable and internet, forcing customers who enjoy watching streamed content to sign up for unnecessary bundles. And by withholding content from any other streaming video service, whether free or subscription based, Comcast/NBC would harm their chances at viability.

Blocked content, rising rates, forced bundling, and more. Despite claims from NBC and Comcast that this merger would be “pro consumer,” the end result will be more restrictions on what content consumers can access and how they can view it. And it will inevitably be more expensive. Consumer and media rights groups are urging the FCC and/or Department of Justice to either block the merger outright or impose very strict conditions to prevent the problems listed above. To read more about the proposed rules, visit FreePress’s release on the merger.

Comments

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  1. Andrew360 says:

    That thing about 30 Rock really sucks. Oh, and your other points were good, too.

    • The Cynical Librarian says:

      I’m just trying to think about what Jack Donaghy will have to say about Comcast/NBC. He obviously won’t still be head of the Microwave/Entertainment division.

  2. blogger X says:

    “And I looked, and he opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake. And the sun became as black as sack cloth, and the moon became as blood.”

    This is only the tip of the iceberg of doomsday events that will befall the entertaintment industry if this happened. PLEASE FCC and/or DOJ, don’t let this happen!

  3. fatediesel says:

    No chance Comcast would refuse to carry ESPN. It would lose millions of customers. There is no way to threaten ESPN’s dominance because ESPN already has long term contracts with all the major sports, not to mention the Bowl Championship Series games starting next year.

    • Hands says:

      On top of that, the NFL wouldn’t re-up with NBC if Comcast yanked ESPN and I’m pretty sure Comcast doesn’t want to lose football. At the very worst, they’d give Versus a better position on the “dial” and drop ESPN down into the 80′s or 90′s.

  4. Joseph S Ragman says:

    The large corporations we always seem to complain about are almost always the product of mergers …

    AT&T, BoA, Comcast … same snake, different skin

  5. Silversmok3 says:

    Oh no,

    Comcast would own HULU? Oh $#*##, they may as well rename the new media company “Umbrella Corporation’.

    • The Cynical Librarian says:

      Are they going to hire Uwe Boll to direct their made for TV movies?

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      At least then the zombies will be sporting Comcastic smiles and sponsored uniform polo shirts.

    • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

      Hulu is dead. I wouldn’t be shocked if this was one of the major reasons Comcast bought out NBCU. If as is stated in TFA they now OWN Hulu, they will kill it dead, no ifs ands or buts.

    • Blueskylaw says:

      It will be the long awaited Unicorp.

      http://www.theonion.com/content/node/29006

    • pdj79 says:

      They won’t outright own Hulu. ABC/Disney and FOX have the same share ratio in Hulu. Comcast/NBC would have to buyout one of the two other company’s shares in order to make a huge impact. The worst that can happen is they restrict all NBC programming and Universal movies to Comcast subscribers. Best case scenario, they just put up a pay-wall for ALL Hulu users to subscribe to watch…but then watch the commercials become more Comcastic.

  6. dwb says:

    I’m just wondering how the Comcast employees who have been laid off in wave after wave in the last three months are feeling right now.

  7. Etoiles says:

    The part I’m most pissed about is that it means Comcast will own Hulu. Grrrrr.

    • Cant_stop_the_rock says:

      They will own part of Hulu. Comcast already offers free streaming content on both their cable boxes and the web, so I don’t think the merger would necessarily have any impact on Hulu.

  8. bsh0544 says:

    Ok, here’s the thing: it’s television. It doesn’t matter. Everyone gets very bent out of shape about it for some reason but we all need to take a step back and realize that this only (directly) harms mindless entertainment that we’ve probably got something better to do than watch anyways.

    Also, in before someone breaks out some indirect sociological argument.

    • ARP says:

      Large media companies may decide that they don’t like news stations saying anything bad about them or their views. They may also decide to require all its stations to show content that matches their economic or political views. Clear Channel often refuses to broadcast, publish, anti-republican content. And I can’t remember which media company it was, but a media company told all its affilitates that it had to air a anti-Kerry documentary a few weeks before the election. Comcast is similar in its views and may decide to follow suit. While many would enjoy this, it does create concerns that the media companies get to decide what political views we should have. So, its not socialism or communism that you’re all worked up about we’re facing, its corportism (see Blade Runner, et. al.)

      • kaceetheconsumer says:

        Agreed…it’s not about the mindless entertainment, it’s about the mindful information stations are supposed to broadcast in exchange for their licensing.

        But as you say, it’s already gone so wrong…what should be done is more breaking up of these big companies, not allowing them to get bigger.

        • Shadowfax says:

          Well, this is what happens when corporations control the politicians. Things that should happen generally don’t, and in fact the opposite usually occurs. There’s a lot of money being funneled to both the Republicans and the Democrats by these megacorporations (many of which also control in some respect if not outright own, news outlets) and therefore no matter what side of the aisle a politician is sitting on, he’s being funded and controlled, by the corporations.

    • BoC says:

      It’s getting easier and easier to cut out television, and this is coming from someone who doesn’t have to deal with Comcast.

      • madog says:

        Even if you don’t subscribe to Comcast directly, with all of the content they could own in this merger it could potentially affect you either through TV or film.

        I imagine either not much will change or it will turn outright awful for countless people including employees and customers.

        The Sirius/XM merger was supposed to be a pro customer merger as well and I’ve heard nothing but awful things about it.

        • BoC says:

          That’s true, there will be plenty of collateral damage. The decision to scale back rather than just pay more will be an easy one; I have several shows I love, but if I have to pay too much more I’ll have no problem saying ‘no, thanks’.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      In the grand scheme, it’s not about television. There are significant ramifications for a company with such a large share of the market, regardless of what market it is. Not only does it get to make decisions that affect thousands of employees, many of whom do not get to make any such decisions (we’re talking customer support reps, assistants, etc.), if Comcast decides the content on CNBC and MSNBC is unfavorable, it could very well put into play internal pressure to avoid certain topics.

      • stranger than fiction says:

        Yeah, I figure the new Comcast overlords will have Olbermann packing his bags posthaste.

        Maybe that’s the break Lou Dobbs is waiting for? ;o)

    • Andrew360 says:

      If I don’t enjoy some mindless entertainment occasionally my brain will over-heat, and I’ll begin loosing IQ points. They literally drip out of my nose. TV is important to some people, don’t be a hater.

      If you want to stop global warming and cure cancer instead of watching TV, go right ahead. However, I choose to work on these things during the commercial breaks. Don’t ruin my fun.

    • tchann says:

      As somebody who works directly in television distribution, I care. I really, really care. :(

    • lihtox says:

      People used to say the same thing about novels, once upon a time (a few centuries ago, say). “They’re trash, a waste of time, filling kids’ heads up with nonsense when they should be working, studying scripture, etc.” And of course a lot of novels were pretty trashy then as now, just like TV is.

      If your local library was suddenly bought out by Comcast, so that only Comcast subscribers could enter the building, would you say “Oh, it’s just books.”?

  9. JohnDeere says:

    yay for eztv.it screw you comcast.

    • theblackdog says:

      It would be a great idea, until Comcast forces you on a capped bandwidth plan, or they start packet shaping again and disallow anything from EzTV

  10. Colonel Jack O'neill says:

    I was reading lots of stuff about this today, and I came to the collusion that people just love to complain. It hasn’t even 1 day, and people are already making speculations.

    Just cause Comcast owns it, doesn’t mean they gonna somehow mess everything up.
    Some people need to stop thinking that Comcast sucks.

    Comcast owns Fancast, and they don’t charge for it, I don’t understand what makes people say that they will start charging for Hulu then?

    I just don’t see what the big deal about this is. So big deal Comcast owns NBC, who cares? I don’t.

    • coren says:

      Considering they’ve already taken measures to cause people to not be able to use streaming video online, I definitely think Hulu is going to be fucked up.

      • Colonel Jack O'neill says:

        How do they cause people to not be able to use streaming video online?

        They have Fancast, which is free. Didn’t they announce the Comcast subscribers can watch on demand, for free. called On Demand Online and TV Everywhere.

        So how exactly are they stopping people from watching video online. And don’t give me that 250GB cap crap, that’s more then enough to stream video.

        • MrAP says:

          Comcast subscribers. As in…people who pay for Comcast service. That’s the definition of non-free.

        • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

          It’s not as simple as a cap. Comcast can use deep packet inspection to determine what packets come from where and what content they contain, then disrupt/degrade that connection to the point where it still technically works, but is unusable because of the low quality of connection. There’s nothing stopping them from doing it right now, and they’ll make sure all the congresscritters they own will kill net neutrality legislation dead so they can promote their own business plan.

          Comcast: All your content are belong to us.

    • thisistobehelpful says:

      I don’t think it’s necessarily just bitching about a service screw up or even the possible rise in cost. It’s more about the monopolization of media. NBC and Universal are HUGE companies. This also directly connects Microsoft with Comcast. Considering Windows is most used OS in at least America and Comcast is the biggest cable provider in the nation as well that’s a pretty huge stake in the way most of the country gets its information. That even connects yahoo to comcast via merged instant messenger service.

      And on top of all of that almost all Americans own TVs. Even if computers are fairly ubiquitous they are still luxuries for a pretty big chunk of the population. So TV does matter that a cable provider is going to own what was previously a “free” national network.

    • perruptor says:

      “Some people need to stop thinking that Comcast sucks.”

      Comcast could make that easier by not sucking. They’ve already been busted for interfering with subscribers’ use of BitTorrent:
      http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/10/22/tech/main3392591.shtml
      It has also apparently interferedwith Lotus Notes, FTP, and VOIP:
      http://www.informationweek.com/blog/main/archives/2007/10/comcast_is_bloc.html;jsessionid=SOCOYW1NOR5CZQE1GHPCKHWATMY32JVN

      http://arstechnica.com/telecom/news/2009/01/fcc-wants-to-know-if-comcast-is-interfering-with-voip.ars

    • pot_roast says:

      Unfortunately, Comcast absolutely destroyed TechTV/G4 before dumping it off on E!.

      • quail says:

        Was that what happened to G4? Used to love catching some of the tech segments back in the day. Anymore I might watch “Movies That Don’t Suck” or “Cops”, but the rest is ‘meh’.

  11. Sunshine1970 says:

    Yeah, I’ve been a bit worried about what would happen if this went through. After looking at that list of stations, a good portion of the TV I do watch is NBC-owned…or I watch Hulu.

    I hopehopehope the FCC & DoJ will not allow this merger to happen. Somehow I doubt it, but I’m hoping…

    • Dustbunny says:

      I’m wondering what the FCC & DoJ will say about this too. What’s to stop Comcast, if NBC & another network like ABC were battling it out for the #1 network rating, from moving the rival network to some number waaay high on the dial where nobody can find it? I can’t imagine CBS, ABC & Fox are too thrilled about this.

  12. Talisker says:

    There was a time when people spent their evenings playing cards with their neighbors while the kids played outside until dark. They’d invite people over for dinner. Men would gather around and watch one of them fix a car while they drank a beer or two out of the refrigerator in the garage. There were picnics. When people wanted to hear a song they picked up an instrument and played, and music was meant to be shared and not meant to be used to isolate us from each other.

    Maybe it’s getting to be time for me to turn off my TV and go knock on the neighbor’s door and invite them over for dinner.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      You’re nostalgic for something I personally never experienced. What you are talking about hasn’t been common for a long time in a lot of areas. In more rural areas, yes, but in cities, no. It’s just different. People work longer hours, they work harder, they’re tired when they get home – and there are auto shops everywhere – and people are less inclined to actually learn to fix things. It’s not TV that is causing it, it’s the entire societal drive of a fast paced life going along with the ease and convenience of not actually doing things yourself. It’s about being able to call for a quick meal, rather than spend a few hours making it – and not because you don’t want to, but because you have to work two jobs to make the rent.

      Mr. Pi came from a tiny town in which everyone knew each other, and visited each other for dinner, and worked on cars in the driveway, and the doors were open for anyone. I come from a suburban/urban area in which you didn’t know everyone even in your own neighborhood because it was so big, and you locked your doors. And I certainly didn’t have anyone fixing their car and saying hi and offering lemonade. It’s not TV, it’s society itself that’s changing.

    • kaceetheconsumer says:

      If you’re talking about shutting off the entertainment, that’s one thing. But a democracy requires an informed electorate, and if control of all forms of media falls into fewer and fewer hands, it becomes harder and harder for those of you on that porch to be informed.

      • P=mv says:

        If you’re talking about shutting off the entertainment, that’s one thing. But a democracy requires an informed electorate, and if control of all forms of media falls into fewer and fewer hands, it becomes harder and harder for those of you on that porch to be informed.

        And this is why the merger bothers me, not the potential rising costs of cable.

      • aficionado says:

        Did you really just call us all what I think you just called us all?

    • PhiTauBill says:

      You probably don’t want to do that… your neighbor and his/her spouse probably aren’t home b/c they are working 15 hours a day to pay the bills… you’ll more than likely find two latchkey kids in front of the tube wondering why their Verizon FIOS Service no longer carries their favorite programming…

  13. Kodai says:

    There is no way Comcast would drop ESPN or refuse to sell content to other cable/sattelite companies. They would be slitting their wrists.

    I predict that within 6 months of this deal being OKed, Time Warner and Comcast will announce a content sharing deal that will lower cable costs.

    • GadgetsAlwaysFit says:

      Were the brownies you ate before posting kind of ‘funny’ tasting? I would think yes. I just got a letter yesterday from TWC informing that all options are getting price increases. Lowering prices next year…ha! Stay away from the brownies! They are not what you think they are.

  14. bravo369 says:

    i have comcast but i don’t trust them at all. with internet tv becoming popular, i can definitely see them forcing you to be a comcast customer to watch the show online…or at least charging non comcast customers a monthly fee even though the show was on NBC for free the night before. Hopefully they ask these questions before approving the deal. any channel available to all providers should be non-discriminatory if available online. And god help you Comcast if you take away my ESPN. outside abc, nbc, fox and cbs, espn is the only channel i absolutely cannot live without. If they try playing hardball in not offering it then I will leave them faster than it takes to change the channel

  15. andyross says:

    That list of networks is a bit out of date. AZN Television shut down about 18 months ago.

    • Kid Awesome says:

      The network may no longer air on TV but they own the rights to that station an any programing rights it may still own.

    • Smashville says:

      While the station may not be on the air, they would own the rights to any programming, logos and any physical properties owned by the station.

  16. zentex says:

    regardless of the truth of any of this, it reads like FUD…which makes any of it hard to believe unless I put on my TinfoilHat3000 and crank it up to 11.

    I’m not saying none of this is possible, but honestly how *probable* is it?

    • trujunglist says:

      A) they’re a business, and businesses like to make money. lots of it. they also hate competitors.
      B) this is comcast we’re talking about here. how long have you been perusing this site?

    • zacox says:

      Probable? Look at the way Comcast has dealt with two opposing companies: NFL and DirecTV.

      Last year, Comcast finally agreed to carry NFL Network after a compromise. Comcast wouldn’t carry NFL Network beacause NFL wanted more money per subscriber than what Comcast was willing to pay while still keeping it on the basic tier. Comcast wanted NFL Network on an upper tier, NFL wanted to be on the lower tier.

      So what happens? This year, Comcast decides to jack up the rates on DirecTV for Versus, a move that DirecTV rejected by refusing to pay the higher rates, so now Comcast is refusing to allow carriage of Versus on DirecTV.

      I can’t imagine what Comcast will do now.

  17. tawnie says:

    I am not happy about this at all. I can just see all sorts of evil coming from this the least of which would be messing with all of the original programming on USA

  18. twophrasebark says:

    But but but… deregulation and the free market, uh, that always works.

    Well, except for the airlines.

    And, um, except for the banks.

    And except for the investment houses that used to be prohibited from being part of the banks.

    And, oh yeah, except for the energy industry. That didn’t work oh so well.

    But otherwise other than that – Long Milton Friedman and Ayn Rand!

    And

    • michaelgibbons says:

      Um, airline fares went down.

      Banks: Are you referring to Glass-Stegall? Well the de facto central bank of this country has had a heavier hand than ever.

      Investment houses—why use the term in the pejorative? A market was made just like any other good. The easy money from too much government regulation was the root cause. The malfeasance are just the after-effects made possible through too much government.

      The energy problems we’ve had in recent years is because the government subsidizes the industry and forces a price that’s below equilibrium—thus people overuse. This was the same thing with the so-called investment houses you speak of. The government subsidized houses and people “overused.”

      And lastly, what the heck does any of this have to do with this merger? Good for Comcast. They’ve smartly purchased regional sports networks and niche cable networks, and have strengthened themselves to buy a broadcast network. This isn’t ABC/Disney, but NBCU has some great cable properties. And broadcast TV is cyclical; they will have some hits eventually and NBC will be back on top of the primetime game. They already are with EMI and have a strong news team.

      • twophrasebark says:

        Airline deregulation:

        Nearly every single airline in the United States has repeatedly gone bankrupt since deregulation. The “lower fares” which are approximately 25 percent lower do not factor in for the economic damage from the constant turmoil in the industry. Who do you think pays the bills when these airlines go bust? There’s no free lunch. In addition, customer satisfaction has plunged since deregulation.

        What does this have to do with the NBC merger:

        Everything. Since the government has repealed the majority of laws keeping the media companies from having a certain number of stations or cross ownership between studios, networks and newspapers, we now have a handful of monopolies which rage against each other at the cost of the consumer. Cable prices have gone up, not down. Consumer dissatisfaction has skyrocketed.

        As for the rest of the reply, I can’t make too much heads or tails of what you’re trying to say. It’s pretty vague.

        • Shadowfax says:

          Not to mention safety as airframes are used much longer than they were before deregulation. Pre-deregulation I’d bet Aloha 243 ( http://www.aloha.net/~icarus/ ) wouldn’t have happened, as a 19 year old airplane with over 90,000 pressurization cycles would already have been retired. In order to get those cheap ticket prices airlines have to hold onto planes longer, and they’re also going to be sorely tempted to neglect expensive preventative maintenance.

  19. ccurvey says:

    Those of you bitching and whining, *do* something about it. Grab a video camera. Write a script. Make something of you own that the corporations WON’T control. Or is that too much work?

    Second option: get off the darn couch and go LIVE! Take a walk. Read a book. See a play. Learn to knit. Play the harmonica. Kiss your spouse. Kiss someone else’s spouse. There’s a whole great big world out there that doesn’t come in 4:3 or 9:13, it’s in stereo and 3D 24 hours a day and it never has problems with pixellation.

    You are responsible for your own happiness. (Hint: sadness flows in through your butt and out through your feet.) When you’re on your deathbed, are you going to look back in anger at the fact that you couldn’t see your favorite show, or that you spent so much time watching TV?

    Sorry for the rant. Just my 2 cents. Anyone got change?

    • Snarkysnake says:

      “get off the darn couch and go LIVE! Take a walk. Read a book. See a play. Learn to knit. Play the harmonica. Kiss your spouse. Kiss someone else’s spouse. There’s a whole great big world out there that doesn’t come in 4:3 or 9:13, it’s in stereo and 3D 24 hours a day and it never has problems with pixellation.”

      Dude , you win the gold star of the day for stating the truth. To watch the whining and moaning on this board you would believe that people had lost all control of their lives and their pathetic,meaningless existential happiness is in the hands of Comcast. I’m glad that you wrote what you wrote to slap us back to reality.

      ( On the kissing someone else’s spouse thing…Stay away from mine)

    • JulesNoctambule says:

      Knitting rarely gets me off the couch, honestly. Not unless one of the cats makes for the yarn, anyway.

      • kaceetheconsumer says:

        Yeah, I knit in front of the TV. I knit and knit and knit and knit. I design patterns too. Nobody can accuse me of being mindless when the TV is on!

    • MrAP says:

      “Second option: get off the darn couch and go LIVE! Take a walk. Read a book. See a play. Learn to knit. Play the harmonica. Kiss your spouse. Kiss someone else’s spouse. There’s a whole great big world out there that doesn’t come in 4:3 or 9:13, it’s in stereo and 3D 24 hours a day and it never has problems with pixellation.”


      …says the guy who’s sitting online complaining about people complaining instead of ignoring it and going outside. Nice try there buddy.

    • morlo says:

      Walking was made obsolete by horses, plays by recorded performances, knitting by the industrial revolution: after you’re done licking your mate you might as well climb a tree and screech in self-induced happiness.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Please. When you start assuming that people don’t do all of the above, you’re simply casting people as two dimensional characters. The same people who go hiking every month are the same people who are watching American Idol or Desperate Housewives. The same people who take expeditions to Mt. Fuji are the same people who watch National Geographic Channel. The people who dig for dinosaur bones appear on archaeology documentaries, and people watch them. Television isn’t this cesspool of mindlessness. It can be extremely creative. And you tell people to pick up a camera and make something – well, some people did, and now it’s on TV.

      I walk – a lot. I love walking. Give me a good pair of shoes and a water bottle and I will traverse my city all day. I love walking. But I also like sitting down and watching TV – it’s 40 degrees outside and it’s been raining cats and dogs for two days. My life doesn’t stop being fulfilling just because I don’t fit your definition of what “living” is – I spend quality time with my family, and if that involves watching a movie together, or enjoying a TV show together, so be it. It’s living!

    • Smashville says:

      Learn to knit?

      As in become a spinster?

  20. coren says:

    Hulu is the biggest one – you know that has Comcast fucking salivating.

  21. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    I almost look forward to having restictions created so repugnant and restraining no one can stand them. When that happens, there is usually a huge blow-back resulting in better regulation with a pro-consumer focus.

    Corporations like this will push as much as they can without popping the bubble. We as consumers have to hope that they don’t find a good balance of pressure that screws us all, but instead hope they exute too much control, thus popping their bubble of mega profits and simply not caring about the consumer.

    We are lucky to exist in the time we do, in the sense that consumers have never had more control over the services they receive than they do now. We will fight them, and we will win!

  22. Shoemaster says:

    I prefer “Mergocalypse” since it rolls off the tongue better, though some might read it with a hard ‘g’ so I see why you connected them the way you did.

    But yeah, the future of TV is fucked.

  23. trujunglist says:

    I’m glad that all of these companies are trying to fuck with the internet and television honestly. first you have Fox threatening google, now you have comcast buying NBC. well, that’s fine with me, because the more restrictive and insane they get, the more people will hate them. eventually, their efforts to destroy the internet and television will bite them in the ass HARD. I seriously cannot wait for the day. the internet will be destroyed and will emerge like a phoenix from the ashes as something much better. the internet is dead, long live the internet!

  24. Torgonius wants an edit button says:

    If Comcast were to pull ESPN from their subscribers, they’d have every congresscritter from every Comcast district up their ass so quickly and forcefully and without lubrication that it would tear open a rift in space-time.

  25. vladthepaler says:

    To be clear, Comcast would be getting a minority share in hulu, they wouldn’t own it. Also, Comcast’s COO is on record saying hulu will be charging to view content. See http://www.businessinsider.com/a-hulu-premium-is-not-in-the-cards-says-comcasts-coo-2009-12

  26. zlionsfan says:

    Putting Versus and NBC together would give Comcast about one-half of a decent sports channel, maybe less. IMHO NBC has been kicking around little tin cans with its sports hands in its pockets ever since it lost the AFC NFL contract to CBS. It has the Olympics every couple of years, which probably works out to every four years given how the average person probably cares about Winter vs. Summer Games, occasional dips in the NFL, NBA, and NHL pools, but that’s it. Versus has college football sometimes, I guess. I took it off my list when Comcast was jerking around DirecTV.

    Comcast Sports Net channels would be more of a threat to ESPN … but the only way Comcast will develop a serious threat is by adding content, not by blocking it. Fox Sports also has a substantial network of stations, so it’s not like people outside a CSN area would miss those channels, and people in a CSN area but not with Comcast would blame Comcast, not their provider, if Comcast decided to pull those channels from other providers.

    With respect to content, there’s a limited amount they could pull on their own. A good bit of what they carry isn’t entirely under their control: for example, trying to pull, say, Flyers games off DirecTV isn’t going to work, because people outside Philadelphia either have Center Ice and get the games regardless of Comcast’s stance, or don’t have Center Ice and can’t get them anyway. Sure, there’s stuff like the Olympics that would fall completely under Comcast’s control, but there would probably be two groups of people affected by the Olympics being removed from non-Comcast transmissions: people who don’t care that much and would watch other things, blaming Comcast for being stupid, and people who do care a lot and would blame Comcast for being stupid.

    The trend in sports right now is more, more, more. More channels, more options, more sports, more events. (I know this is also true for TV in general, but I watch much more sports TV than other TV, so I’m not really qualified to rant about non-sports TV.) If Comcast’s idea is to try to corner the market on something and drive up the price by cutting the supply, they’re about 35 years too late.

    • Joedragon says:

      Comcast only has 20% of sports net Chicago and TEAMS own 80% of it and I don’t see them letting make it comcast only.

      also the ICO and USICO will not just let the olympics be comcast only and if it does happen 2012 will be the last time they are on nbc / comcast.

      also I don’t think the NFL will let them pull the Sunday Night games form OTA much less when it is a local team playing in the game.

  27. MisterE says:

    If higher fees mean I have to cancel cable and build a media server, so be it. Pirating movies aside, I find more entertainment online than thru comcast.

  28. antisan says:

    Hm, didn’t the country have anti-monopoly legislation at one point?

  29. Random_Tangent says:
  30. AngryK9 says:

    I’m sure that which was mentioned in this post is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg…

  31. Yoko Broke Up The Beatles says:

    If Comcast owns Versus and prevents ESPN from showing highlights, I’d be OK with it. How would that be any different than what we see today? I mean, ESPN doesn’t show highlights of hockey games now anyway!

  32. valthun says:

    I really don’t understand how any regulatory agency that overseas these purchases approved this purchase.

    • PhiTauBill says:

      The approvals come later. The agreement between the companies is the only thing that has been announced. It will be months or even possibly a year or so (or possibly never), before they can secure the necessary regulatory approvals to actually close the deal.

  33. moorie679 says:

    I will just stream them from other sites that does not even have ads…..zshare, megavideo etc. cat is out of the bag……..

  34. 108Reliant says:

    This is one of the reasons why I dropped my cable completely. If there is a TV show we want to watch we wait for it to come to Netflix.

  35. H3ion says:

    A little history. ABC was once owned by NBC. There were two NBC networks, the red and the blue. The government required NBC to spin off ABC specifically to avoid over-concentration of control in tv. Now what’s this latest? Another consolidation and concentration of control over content, pricing, etc. Comcast’s comment that this merger is pro-consumer will be accurate the same day I can shine sunshine out my butt. It’s an attempt to control not only the distribution medium but also the content of that medium. If the FTC and DOJ let this go through, we may as well give up. There will be no monopoly that won’t pass antitrust muster. President Obama, are you listening?

  36. anduin says:

    As a Canadian I cannot use Hulu because honestly Canada is too cool for Hulu (literally and figuratively), I’m not someone who is really picky about HD or SD picture so a megavideo quality video is good enough for me and those are still free.

  37. Chuck Norris' wig says:

    If all tv channels in the list went away today, what would you really be out?

    Not much. Since Kings was canceled, the only thing I watch on those stations is West Wing re-runs on Bravo when I’m trying to sleep.

    TV on the whole is garbage.

  38. kexline says:

    You know what?

    If TV starts sucking, I can get rid of Tivo. if I get rid of Tivo, I get back something like $130/year. I win!

    I probably won’t save any money on cable because I’ll still have to buy my interwebs from somebody. Soulless ubermegacorporations win!

    Maybe I’ll take my $130 to feed my boyfriend at my friendly neighborhood cash-strapped restaurant, overtip the server, then donate the remainder to the This American Life podcast. (Normally some would go to Wait Wait, but they made me deal with Ticketmaster so they can twist in the wind.) Everybody wins!

  39. Crutnacker says:

    You know what, the only people this will be bad news for ultimately is stockholders. Just look at newspaper conglomerates, Clear Channel, and more.

    What will happen is that Comcast will try to force its hand with cable providers, cable providers will kick the stations to the curb or into higher tiers that people will decide they can live without and Comcast will scratch their heads as to why the merger didn’t work.

    With the exception of the Weather Channel (which has worked hard to destroy the reason people watch it and can be replaced with the Internet), and USA Network, is there anything here that people really care about?

    As for pushing out ESPN, any move to mess with ESPN will be greeted with a move to the competition.

    And if they want to mess with Hulu, they’ll find themselves with a nice brand that nobody visits anymore.

    Mark my words, this will be a tremendous FAIL in line with AOL/Time Warner and Daimler Chrysler.

  40. u1itn0w2day says:

    Comcast being that they are already darn close to a monopoly similar to the old phone company monopoly called ma bell/ATT – the monopoly that was broken up for reasons including that the consumer had to buy or rent what they manufactured .

    Comcast should just be a distributor of product over their cable which is mostly on public rights of way like most other under regulated utilities . There was time where you got charged by the jack or had to rent ma bell phones . Comcast is doing the samething by making you rent their boxes . With the aquisition of NBC what’s the difference between ma bell making you rent or buy their equipment or Comcast making you pay to watch their product . By buying cable you are sorta ‘ renting ‘ access to Comcast manufactured AND distributed product .

    All the feds need to check on this one.

  41. TechnoDestructo says:

    How much you want to bet the right/Fox News mysteriously begins supporting net neutrality after this?

  42. StanTheManDean says:

    Big whoopee male cow paddies.

    Those with an ax to grind are already coming out of the woodwork. I guess having your job application turned down will make one bitter.

  43. dumblonde says:

    This just sounds like a HUGE antitrust case in the making. Or maybe I’m just getting overexcited while studying for my Antitrust Law final.

  44. narq says:

    Bandwidth limitations, bottle-necking, price fixing, misleading & lying to customers, destroying networks, and buying NBC? I watch NBC and I’m against this. Doesn’t that count for something? Hey verizon, can you stop carrying NBC because your biggest competitor owns it and I’m unhappy with that fact?

    What’s next? We can’t watch content if we’re not a comcast customer? I mean they already block emails from non comcast customers to comcast customers. Why is comcast so big and why aren’t people canceling their service? I gladly left comcast years ago and couldn’t be happier. Last thing I want is a company that lobbies against net neutrality to control the biggest networks.

    I expect that within 2 years Hulu will either no longer exist or become something completely different from what it is now… most likely something you have to pay for. If comcast wants so much money why don’t they just buy out all of the porn sites?

  45. kaceetheconsumer says:

    Okay, so what can we little plebes do about it? Will signing petitions to the regulatory bodies even matter?

  46. d says:

    The whole reason for this is that Comcrap wants to maintain it’s cable TV monopoly, and sees the free availability of video (legal or other sources – they don’t care) as a threat to that. If I can run something like XBMC on a small PC and install some plugins, then I can stream whatever I want from certain channels, my own server, DVD’s I’ve ripped, etc… Who needs cable and the 75 extra channels of shit that you don’t watch then?

    In the meantime, Comcrap is capping bandwidth to limit what people can stream off of the Internet in order to preserve their cable TV monopoly, and to limit the need for investment in their internet infrastructure…

    The whole concept of Comcrap buying NBC is a recipe for disaster, and I got on freepress today and sent in my email… You should too…

    The FCC should be promoting diversity and MORE providers, not less…

  47. soj4life says:

    Comcast finally got their theme park, this is all I see with this. Content is content and it will always change. Comcast is going to own part of hulu, but hulu said months ago that they would start charging; the hulu you loved died earlier this year.

    This merger helps comcast in their battle against verizon’s fios. comcast will not have to pay for carriage charges now for these channels.

  48. Naame says:

    There is absolutely nothing good that will come out of this for consumers. This Oligopoly is getting worse and worse and worse.

  49. VagrantRadio says:

    I would love to drop my cable completely being a Comcast customer, but they don’t allow it and my other choices are AT&T. No, just no.

  50. bonanz says:

    at least, there won’t be some multinational conglomerate interests that can use the media arm behind the scenes to shape popular opinion.

  51. duncanblackthorne says:

    As I said when we first got wind of this: No good will come of this. Comcast is a malignant creature already, this will just make matters worse. I wonder that the powers-that-be are allowing this to happen at all, it smacks way too much of illegal monopoly.

    Also, the SciFi Channel (I REFUSE to refer to it by it’s new name because it SUCKS) used to be decent, it’s been going downhill lately.. and now I predict it’ll turn into absolute crap. I just wish I had a choice of broadband internet where I live, it’d make it easier to dump Comcast completely. I guess I’ll have to move..

  52. korybing says:

    NBC is my favorite network. I’m pretty disappointed about this whole ordeal.

  53. Starfury says:

    The only channel in that lilst I worry about is USA. I watch ONE show on that network: Burn Notice

    They better not f*ck with it.

  54. Daemon Xar says:

    Back the hell away from my SyFy and 30 Rock!

  55. CWilson says:

    Way too many mergers happening, and now it’s affecting my TV??? I work with Sharp and can never miss my shows nightly on my LCD television.