Tell The FCC To Nix The NBC Comcast Deal

If you don’t want Comcast to own NBC, you can use this handy dandy online petition Consumers Union put together for you to tell the FCC. As the agency continue to mull over the deal, perhaps your opinion may help sway theirs. But why might Kabletown owning the peacock be bad for consumers?

The concern is that Comcast will use its new powers to raise prices without raising service quality, they will kill Hulu, and we might see some of the best NBC shows, like “30 Rock,” become only available in higher-priced tiers and bulkier bundles stuffed with channels you don’t want.

Media consolidation leads to cultural hegemony, fewer options, and higher prices. If you believe this to be true, tell the FCC via this online petition: Comcast owning NBC? From bad to worse! [HearUsNow.org]

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  1. apd09 says:

    I think we all need to accept that this is going to happen. They already looked into the anti-trust issues and said it was “Thundercats-Go!”

    Petitions are good to let people feel like they have a say or they can change politicians minds, but the reality is that unless a petition is used to get something to a vote so that people can vote on it there is not much this is going to do since it already cleared every hurdle need to be consummated.

    • Roger Wilco says:

      I thought it was Thudercats Ho! and Thunderbirds are go!

      I think Juno got it wrong.

      • apd09 says:

        I think you may be right. I saw that frigging commercial for Juno on TBS or TNT at least 8 times this past weekend and it got stuck in my head and it seemed appropriate for saying that all systems are go.

      • nbs2 says:

        Yep. And the “Ho” is drawn out a little.

    • Rachacha says:

      “Petitions are good to let people feel like they have a say or they can change politicians minds,”
      Could not agree more. Petitions show regulators that there are a number of people who have an interest in this particular topic, but really don’t care enough to write a letter. “Form letters” or letters crafted by groups or associations that encourage consumers to “write” a letter of their own (by copying and pasting) carries a bit more weight than a petition, but not much. A personalized letter addressing the personal concerns that you have on a topic will gather more attention.

      I know of one group that had a concern about a topic, and the provided bullet points that consumers could incorporate into their letter as well as a stock letter ready for a signature. The regulator took all of the stock letters and lumped them together as a single comment signed by a couple hundred people, but the individual letters stood on their own. Some had real facts, others provided annecdotal stories on how the proposed regulation would impact them. It was those 10,000 individual letters, that let the regulator know that they did not think things through completely, and they changed the rule.

    • oldwiz65 says:

      Politicians vote whichever way they are paid to vote. Comcast/NBC has given the politicians enough money to get whatever they want. Politicians claim to listen to voters, but voters don’t give them the money they need for their vacations, reelection campaigns, drugs, or hookers. The only time politicians give a rats tushie about voters is when it is near to elections, then they tell consumers they will do everything they can for them. Bull.

      • Rachacha says:

        True, but the FCC is an independent agency with both Democratic and Republican representation. Comcast can give as much money to Congress as they like, but that money does not make it to the FCC. Now a congress critter can write a letter to the FCC ENCOURAGING them to allow the deal to go through, but that is really the extent of their power as the FCC reports to a committee.

    • Chaosium says:

      I agree, do something, anything, but online petitions have never done a single thing towards corporations or the federal government. The billions+ of signatures made have amounted to nothing. It’s wasted time and effort.

  2. johnva says:

    No one is going to listen to a petition or public comments when there is big money on the other side. That’s how all decisions are made in this country.

  3. teke367 says:

    I think NBC/Comcast made the deal too sweet to pass up when they announced Zucker would be leaving after the merger.

  4. ThaKoolAidKid says:

    You do realize we live in the age of apathy, right? We all watch a 30 second YouTube video from a cause, get angry, get motivated, and then get distracted by a LolCat and call it a day.

    It is unfortunate but it is true.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      The problem is we live in a world where we can’t just stop everything and go protest.

      We have bills and spouses and children that require our support.

  5. OmniZero says:

    This mergepocalypse will happen. It happened with Exxon-Mobil, so why would they stop this one even with a petition? I’m sure a lot of people in the FCC are making good money from this deal.

  6. PTB315 says:

    I was under the impression that the following is true:

    Online petitions are not actually taken seriously at all, because the people they’re directed at recognize that signing one requires nothing more than clicking a link and typing your name, making them believe that while you care, you don’t care enough to put much effort into expressing it.

    Thus, if you actually make the effort to write out your thoughts on the matter or make a phone call, it shows you are more serious about it by virtue of the fact you put in more than the bare effort. I seem to remember that when I heard about this, it involved dealing with your government representatives.

    And even if it’s a more legitimate online petition, people associate them with news blurbs involving people signing names like “Bart Simpson” or “Heywood Jablomey”

  7. Venality says:

    Is this article seriously suggesting that NBC would move from network to a cable only channel? That seems a little absurd to believe that a company would willingly move something from network to cable only and kill the popularity of the shows and the price to sell ad time.

    The concern about Hulu is justified, but the concern about 30 Rock or another popular show going super high tier only seems unlikely.

    • Tim says:

      Moving a whole network is unlikely. Moving particular shows is much more likely. They can probably make more money from it on cable. And if they can’t make more money on it from cable, they’ll just jack up the cable rates, because … oh yeah, they own your cable, too.

      • Venality says:

        And then when they jack up the cable for the tier they moved the show to, more people may drop that particular tier, and decide that particular show isn’t worth it. I don’t have any particular examples of extremely popular shows moving from network to a higher tier, but I cannot imagine that the vast appeal came with it. They won’t jack up a basic tier over 30 Rock, and if they go too high, no one is going to pay that kind of money for one show.

        I don’t think that Comcast is going to kill a golden goose to find the egg inside.

    • NeverLetMeDown says:

      Well, Comcast has already committed to not turning NBC into a cable channel, but there would be a good economic rationale for it. About 90% of the US has cable or satellite, so only 10% would lose access to NBC. Those 10% are (generally) either elderly or poor (or both), so they’re not very attractive for advertisers anyway.

  8. Bernardo says:

    Ok question. In the old days I thought there was a law that stopped movie studios from owning the theaters. Somthing about monoplys and controling the distrubution. (I was half asleep that day in my law class) Any way it seems like this really isnt any different. (Ok not so much asleep but day dreaming about the woman who sat across from me) At least to me. Why doesnt that argument hold up there. There seems to be legal president. It does scream monoply and just beg more mergers to happen so the other giants can “Compete”.

    • Tim says:

      Well, the law was probably narrowly tailored to movie studios and movie theaters. You could use the same argument, and I’m almost certain someone arguing against the merger used the same argument (plus the precedent) to the FCC (and/or whatever groups needed to approve it). I guess it wasn’t good enough. But the law/regulation itself probably only applies to movie studios and theaters.

    • NeverLetMeDown says:

      “There seems to be legal president.”

      I think you slept through more than a few days of law school.

    • Hoss says:

      The concerns then was that a very small number of studios owning theaters could collude to block small studios from having outlets (as they likely did collude). Since the TV broadcast industry is now fully blossomed, restricting competition would not seem to be in the financial interest of a Cable TV distribution company. How would this work?

  9. PLATTWORX says:

    I agree that Comcast buying NBC is a bad deal for consumers. However, has this ship not only sailed?? They fired Jeff Zucker from NBC and Comcast already named the new team to run NBC. Sounds like they pretty much have closed the deal.

  10. Macgyver says:

    So what if they kill Hulu, they already have Fancast, (which is FREE, you don’t have to be a Comcast subscriber to watch. For some stuff you do, but that’s just a perk for being a Comcast customer) so it wouldn’t make sense to have 2 streaming sites, when more then half the stuff on Fancast, they get from Hulu anyway.

    Or maybe they’ll give their customers Hulu plus for free (which is just another perk for being a customer).

    And all of these things that people are talking about, that’s all speculation, and those people probably don’t like Comcast to begin with, so they just make up rumors to get people to believe that those rumors are true.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Having only one option quickly leads to having no options.

      Competition benefits customers, and the lack of it cripples them.

      • Nick1693 says:

        Hulu is a joint NBC Universal/Disney/Fox/ABC venture.

        What’s more likely is that Fancast would no longer exist (considering they get most material directly from Hulu.)

  11. Macgyver says:

    Also, this is a business deal between 2 businesses, so why should a third party that has nothing to do with it, get involved.

    • Tim says:
    • apd09 says:

      my thoughts exactly, the FCC has already stuck their toe in the water and said go ahead and jump in. At this point it is up to consumers to make the decision if you want to support the merger by writing a letter a comcast with your stance of being opposed to it and then switch cable providers. Early Termination Fee be damned, if you are that against it then pay the 300 bucks or whatever it is and leave them while also refusing to watch the shows live and instead either record it to fast forward through the commercials or watch it online unless they pull it from being shown online.

      People have options, but words always seem to be easier than actions.

      • evnmorlo says:

        “Switch cable providers”? For 90% of Americans that phrase means nothing.

        • apd09 says:

          You’re right, I forgot that those words are nothing more than puffery used when attempting to get a lower rate on their cable bill.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          Most of us would interpret that to mean upgrade to a different package within our sole local cable provider

  12. sufreak says:

    I am sincerely against the merger. I think the consumers, both Comcast Customers and NBC viewers will suffer. Its a complete conflict of interest for the consumer.

    In a word….NBC and its channels, (USA, CNBC, USA, etc) will look GREAT on Comcast subscribers. Oh, sorry. XFINITY. The rest of you suckers…oh well.

    • Nick1693 says:

      I disagree.

      The way Comcast handled buying NECN makes me believe they can handle NBC Universal correctly. The only difference between NECN before Comcast and now is that the full name is “NECN, A Comcast Network”.

      Everyone can still get it just the same as before Comcast. (with the exception of Cox and satellite subscribers, though IIRC they never got it before)

      • sufreak says:

        Give it some time. Its still early. If they enacted their full plan already, everyone would scream bloody murder.
        When a company controls the product and the delivery method, then guess who gets screwed.
        If I don’t like my newspaper delivery guy, i can go buy the paper from the store.

        But if the newspaper company says you can only get their paper from them, then you’re screwed.

      • Doncosmic says:

        The way they handled VS with Direct TV pretty much contradicts that though

  13. Andyb2260 says:

    Online Petitions are useless! If you feel strongly about this, you’re better off writing a politely worded letter to the FCC. Believe me a thousand letters will do much more good than a million “signatures” on an online petition.

  14. DanKelley98 says:

    Unfortunately, like the XM/Sirius “merger”, its going to happen. Regulators can’t say no to mega-deals. Its in their DNA.

    • apd09 says:

      be prepared for Sony to send you cease and desist letter for using their marketing slogan without express written permission, unless you have that already then disregard the comment.

  15. Nick1693 says:

    There is nothing to be concerned about with NBC Universal/Comcast/Hulu becauseHulu is a joint NBC Universal/Fox/ABC.

    As someone who witnessed Comcast take control of NECN (New England Cable News) I do not believe there is anything to worry about.

    • veg-o-matic says:

      … except a few years ago, at the time of the digital broadcast transition, Comcast decided to undertake a “totally separate” and (conveniently for them) confusingly-promoted digital shuffle of its own, taking channel after channel out of the basic tier and moving it to digital, forcing those of us with basic to pay even more for fewer channels.

      And one of the first channels they took away? NECN.

      There’s never “nothing to worry about” with Comcast.

      • Nick1693 says:

        I believe they gave free digital boxes.

        • Conformist138 says:

          Um… so? Those boxes just allowed service to reach older tvs without internal digital tuners. The fact is, they began shuffling channels and took away “extended basic” and instead offered “basic” (local channels, shopping channels, but that’s about it) and made everyone bump up into their digital packages. The one closest to extended basic ended up costing more than what people were paying before. The really crappy thing is that different extended basic channels went into different tiers, so you either had to pick the one you wanted most or buy a ton more tiers just to regain the channels you already had.

  16. samonela says:

    Start mailing in peanuts.

  17. Hoss says:

    Since when does Consumer Union do this kind of grandstanding? The merger is a sweet deal for GE.

  18. jp7570-1 says:

    I am against the merger, but agree with the other posters here that it is probably a “done deal” and will be approved regardless of any petition drives.

    The question I’d really like the FCC to address is a la carte pricing. In other words, only pay for the channels you want to watch. I have had both cable and satellite services in the past (currently on satellite) and both offer dozens and dozens of channels I never watch as part of their packages. If a la carte pricing were allowed, I wouldn’t be forced to pay for channels I have no interest in. (For instance, if I have no kids there is little chance I would watch the Disney channel, the Baby channel, etc. Ok, some might, but I am not interested.)

    The cable/satellite pricing system benefits all providers and is customer-unfriendly.

  19. Chaosium says:

    “they will kill Hulu”

    Hulu killed themselves. Really, while I hate Comcast, they’re a better owner than GE, and NBC mis-managed themselves into the gutter.

  20. Chaosium says:

    “become only available in higher-priced tiers and bulkier bundles stuffed with channels you don’t want.”

    I don’t see anyone boycotting Disney and ESPN.

    “Media consolidation leads to cultural hegemony, fewer options, and higher prices.”

    I do agree with this, but who else is going to purchase NBC? Can they simply operate themselves? Do they need the cash flow from an owner/investor?

  21. Ed says:

    They included “flash forward” as a popular TV show NBC has. Shows how much the creator of the peition knows. Was cancelled in May after a lackluster first season.

  22. Yoko Broke Up The Beatles says:

    Hey, NBC no longer can fuck with Conan, so now I don’t care what happens to NBC.

    If you need me, I’ll be watching TBS late night come November.

  23. Spook Man says:

    Does this mean that Time Warner and other cable companies will be paying Comcast out the whazoo for licensing fees (which are turned around onto the consumers in higher bills) just to see the NBC owned stations?

    Sounds like this is what is going to happen with this merger..

  24. Ixnayer says:

    Nothing can be done to NBC to make the company worse.

  25. FrankReality says:

    It is too much to hope for both Concast and NBC to go bankrupt?

  26. Peacock (Now In Extra Crispy) says:

    I want, I fervently want, Comcast to take over NBC. Why? Because they have accomplished what has heretofore been the impossible. They’ve booted Jeff Zucker. For that alone, Comcast deserves to get governmental approval for the merger.

    Not. kidding.

  27. dush says:

    Cabletown will prevail.