Comcast/NBC Marriage Could Get FCC Blessing Today

The way could soon be clear for the country’s largest cable TV provider (and reigning Worst Company In America) to acquire a majority share of the country’s fourth-ranked broadcast TV network, as reports claim the FCC will be voting today to approve the joining of Comcast and NBC Universal.

From the Washington Post:

According to sources familiar with the thinking of the Federal Communications Commission, the deal will be approved 4 to 1, with Democrat Michael J. Copps dissenting. The senior commissioner has consistently expressed concern that the joint venture would harm the public interest as too much control of content goes into the hands of a company that also controls how consumers access the Internet and television.

Before Christmas, FCC chief Julius Genachowski reportedly gave his blessing to the deal with a few stipulations. According to the Wall Street Journal, Comcast would be required to offer NBC programming to any online video provider who has reached a similar deal for content from one of NBC’s competitors, such as Disney Fox. Additionally, Genachowski proposed a regulation requiring Comcast to keep similar channels, like sports or news channels, close together on most cable systems.

Still, the deal has many detractors, including Consumerist’s parent company Consumers Union. “This is a bad deal because it would give Comcast powerful incentives to withhold NBC content from competitors and drive up prices for cable TV and Internet,” explains CU’s policy counsel, Parul P. Desai. “The combination of Comcast and NBC would be a media giant with great potential for abusive behavior. In this economy, consumers should not be at risk of bigger bills for cable and Internet service.”

In November, Senator Al Franken (who rose to fame as a writer and cast member on NBC’s Saturday Night Live) asked the Justice Dept. to investigate the merger, claiming that Comcast had violated the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 by jumping the gun and naming who would be the top executives at the merged company.

FCC expected to approve Comcast-NBC merger on Tuesday [Washington Post]

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  1. gman863 says:

    Comcast’s current ad campaign in Houston shows a stuck-up “celeberty” watching her performance on streaming PC video. The NBC Peacock logo is clearly shown in the streaming content.

    This clearly shows Comcast thinks it’s a done deal.

  2. Suisei says:

    I’m curious to see how this will turn out. I am sure that if the FCC allowed this, there would be a heavy set of rules and regulations tacked on, and they would monitor the merger closely for years to come.

    • ARP says:

      Can’t tell if this is snark or not. I hope it is. If not, yes, but then once an anti-regulation president comes in, all that monitoring will be ignored and they’ll be able to do what they want (see Reagan and EPA and Bush and just about everything). Or, it will be too late.

    • maruawe says:

      sorry but you are very naive

  3. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    Further proof that the government is owned by big business, and that you, Joe and Jane Taxpayer, just do not matter in the least.

    • kkevin6154 says:

      Completely agree! This is a very very bad thing. This merger should have been denied immediately…….but of course, it’s going to be approved so the politicians can pad their pockets more and screw the consumers even more. This should be ringing a “BELL” in the consumers heads that remember the “Ma Bell” days………..and look at where AT&T is now.

    • maruawe says:

      I also agree

    • myktag says:

      I also agree

  4. sufreak says:

    Well, that was a good fun couple of years. Its gonna be a whole lotta suck going forward.

  5. Woodside Park Bob says:

    If it is legal that a major cable company also controls a major content provider, then the law should be changed. This merger will result in more centralized control over the media It will harm the public.

    Cable companies should be regulated as common carriers and have no control over content.

    Congress needs to act. It won’t, of course, especially now with the Republicans in control of the House.

  6. YokoOhNo says:

    this really gives comcast a leg up on the subliminal message industry because they know when “we” pause, rewind, fast forward, switch channels, time shift, etc and what interests us. they can now incorporate this information into the production of tv shows.

    and we’re one step closer to a true free market where monopolies reign and, hopefully, children will finally be forced to pull their own weight…no more of the good life for the under-13 crowd!!!

  7. menty666 says:

    How many individuals and companies begged and pleaded with the government not to let this unholy marriage happen?

    I guess if I want to have an audible opinion in this country I’m going to need to start a lobbying firm.

  8. Griking says:

    And yet for some reason the Sirius/XM merger took years to approve.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Very different scenario.

      1) Both companies are the exact same iteration of each other, Comcast/NBC produced two DIFFERENT but related products

      2) They are the two largest players in their particular market, if not the only players. Their merger means basically a monopoly.

  9. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    This is a ridiculous abuse of market position, and only the most clueless and/or corrupt officials could ever even consider this as being remotely acceptable.

    There was never any doubt it would get approved.

  10. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    The problem with a nation focused on capitalism, capitalists take over.

  11. stormbird says:

    I for one welcome our innovation-stifling overlords! We’ll get less choices, but at least we’ll pay more.

  12. oldwiz65 says:

    There was never a doubt that the merger would be approved. NBC and Comcast slipped enough millions to Congress to get it approved. Any “conditions” to the merger are just PR to convince clueless voters that it’s a good thing, while they will quietly be ignored by the merged company. Sometimes I wonder if there is such a thing as an honest politician anymore? They all take dirty money or inappropriate gifts or things they shouldn’t.

    Maybe the new definition of honest politician is one who stays bought?

  13. maruawe says:

    This could be the end of free television for millions of Americans. Probably the other channels will follow suit and it will be the end of an era. IF this goes through you can believe that Comcast will not deliver content without cost, Even if the agreement is as told by the FCC it wil be broken within a year and never will be heard of again. Sorry Grandma and Grandpa you will have to get cable.

  14. u1itn0w2day says:

    Hmmm, current FCC gives a deal which includes NBC, the anti Fox the “OK”. Never mind what GE is doing seperately.

  15. DerangedKitsune says:

    So the bribery — er, lobbying — has paid off it seems.

    With luck, this will burn faster and harder than AOL-Time Warner.