Comcast eats NBC: every media mega-merger needs a cautionary infographic

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37 Responses to “Comcast eats NBC: every media mega-merger needs a cautionary infographic”

  1. John Mark Ockerbloom says:

    Comcast *does* provide some content here in Philadelphia, where they’re based: they televise many of the games of the Phillies and other local pro sports teams when they’re not being carried by national TV.

    They carry these games on their own cable sports network. And, unlike the situation with most other sports, they don’t let any other TV carrier have them. (There’s apparently a legal exception for “closed circuit programs” that lets them refuse to share or sell it to other carriers. Because they have a dedicated wire-line between the sports complex in South Philly and their local cable hub, they can exploit this loophole, and make it much less appealing for Philly sports fans to go with a competing TV service instead of Comcast.)

    With that precedent in mind, I’m concerned about the NBCU buyout. We currently don’t bother with cable, but fairly often we watch slightly delayed TV programs for free on Hulu, which NBCU largely owns, over our Verizon DSL connection. With Comcast buying NBCU, I wonder how long that’s going to last.

  2. slgalt says:

    GE has been in control of NBC, at least Comcast is in the media business. I’m just hoping they decide to charge separately to carry Faux News. That would be awesome.

    Remember the School House Rock Parody “Media Monopoly?”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYYgIl6Gso4

  3. Anonymous says:

    This bodes badly if they own part of Hulu. After all, Hulu, a service that provides television shows, is in direct competition with “Comcast table television.”

  4. cymk says:

    And I beheld when the two corporations merged they opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood.

    Yes, I think this is a terrible, terrible idea and no good can come of it.

    • Lobster says:

      Come now, of course some good will come of it. It’s going to make some rich old men even richer.

      Won’t someone please think of the millionaires?

  5. hobomike says:

    Yes, monopolies are bad and Comcast is a crappy company. But that said, no one really needs this stuff, right? Kill yer TV!!!

  6. zikman says:

    this is a Bad Thing.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Revenues and profits are totally different things.

    You know who had revenues last year that were 5-10 times larger than either of these companies? General Motors.

  8. Suburbancowboy says:

    Bow down to your corporate media overlords.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Merging of Comcast and NBC is hazardous to the health of our democracy? Really? Isn’t it a bit of a stretch considering we’re talking about the Golf Channel and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon? Furthermore, Comcast and NBC aren’t exactly known for their “journalism”. One less viewpoint from them isn’t exactly going to hurt us.

  10. LB says:

    Do we know the Cost and Diversity points for a fact? Otherwise we’re just being alarmist.

    (Disclosure: My local cable company is Cablevision.)

    • Cowicide says:

      Do we know the Cost and Diversity points for a fact? Otherwise we’re just being alarmist.

      Yes, we do know that as fact… and I also know there’s a very good chance you have access to a search engine, but just in case:

      http://www.docuticker.com/?p=8228

      http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/02_17/b3780098.htm

      http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=5195811

      In the amount of time it took you to hypothesize that we all might just be being alarmist, you might have dug around a little first and come to the play field properly equipped.

      Now, the rest of us need to do something about this QUICKLY before it’s too late:
      https://secure.freepress.net/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=375

      • LB says:

        Those aren’t facts (a fact would be a press release that says Comcast is charging more for NBC, which we haven’t seen yet since it is only the first day), those are more hypotheses and case studies. Case studies on a *local* level, which doesn’t scale well to a merger of this magnitude (it’s easier to lock up media on a local level, given that there aren’t many media outlets to begin with). I’m not arguing against the dangers of media consolidation, I’m just saying we don’t know what Comcast is going to do yet.

        cymk’s response was a bit more rational, but I’m still skeptical. Should Comcast choose to charge more for NBC Universal channels, the other cable and satellite providers may choose to play hardball with them. Competition is not dead yet.

        • Cowicide says:

          If you think corporate press releases are the bastion of “fact based” documentation then there is not much more I can really say to you on that topic. You’re lost in that regard. Corporate press releases are more often than not simply public relations pieces devoid of any critical facts. I mean, seriously?

          And as far as “we don’t know what Comcast is going to do yet”… what we should do is look at their past history and the current dire effects of past mega merger mania on our country that has come o roost right now. The economy is really doing fantastic after all these years of mega mergers, huh?

          I’m glad you agree that the mega merger won’t be good for the general public, but suggesting that we all sit on our hands and wait and see what happens is really a recipe for disaster. I’m sure you’ll also be first in line to say we shouldn’t bail them out in the future when they go down in flames and are “too big to fail”?

          Honestly, do you think it will do the public any good whatsoever for Comcast to swallow up a huge competitor? War is not peace and less competition is LESS competition. Corporate communism has been an unmitigated disaster for the general public in the United States. Will the United States economy have to completely collapse before you see enough “evidence” to take action? Shall we wait till every last drop of wealth and control is in the hands of the few richest segments of society before we take action?

          It’s starting to look that way… sheesh…

        • Cowicide says:

          Those aren’t facts (a fact would be a press release that says Comcast is charging more for NBC, which we haven’t seen yet since it is only the first day), those are more hypotheses and case studies. Case studies on a *local* level, which doesn’t scale well to a merger of this magnitude (it’s easier to lock up media on a local level, given that there aren’t many media outlets to begin with). I’m not arguing against the dangers of media consolidation

          Those links go to many facts, you obviously didn’t bother looking at the content of those links very well at all. And, while I completely disagree with you about the case studies on a “local” level not “scaling well” (when the whole point is how mega mergers harm local levels)… you saying that also shows that you obviously didn’t take a look at that BW article link and also explore the links from my first link.

          Making the bold statement of “those aren’t facts” without even looking at what was presented to you is really lame. And, once again… stating that a corporate public relations press release is a good source for facts is simply hilarious.

          Well, you’re screwed now… here’s my press release:

          Cowicide, the leading blog commenter in the world, is releasing a new post today that clearly shows LB doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

          ;D

  11. Anonymous says:

    If I may quibble a few points:

    1. Revenue does not equal profits
    2. How does this yield a greater cost to consumers?
    3. How is it possible for Comcast to prioritize NBC content?
    4. How does this change the number of companies that controls content? Comcast did not provide content before the merger…

  12. Anonymous says:

    Note that Josh Stearns came up with the idea and wrote the copy and James Hindle created the graphic.

  13. user123456 says:

    A merger between NBC and Comcast isn’t going to “be hazardous the health of our democracy.” Relying on corporations like NBC and Comcast for the health of our democracy is what is hazardous.

  14. levjoy says:

    LB – more info on the cost and diversity points here: http://www.freepress.net/comcast

    • LB says:

      But that’s not PROOF. It’s just assumptions. There’s a difference between “will” and “might” and right now we’re at the “might” stage.

      The part that concerns me is “Comcast will charge its competitors more for NBC programs.” I’ve heard claims like these before but have never seen them actually happen.

      I don’t think this merger is a good thing, but if I’m going to panic, I’d rather do it based on facts.

      • cymk says:

        I think its more inevitable than possibility, think about it. Its all about making money. Putting in monthly caps on their internet service, charging outrageous amounts for their services…the next step I see them taking is charging other cable providers extra to air all NBC/Universal channels. NBC/Universal owns 13 networks: Bravo, Bravo HD+ (eventually renamed Universal HD), Chiller, CNBC, CNBC World, MSNBC, mun2, Syfy, ShopNBC, Telemundo, Sleuth, USA Network and has the rights to the Olympic Games on cable.

        “you want to watch the Olympics? That will be an extra service charge.”

  15. trippcook says:

    Why does anyone give a crap? There are hundreds of channels, plus web video, plus books, plus DVDs, plus music, plus video games … Comcast buying NBC, one movie studio, and a bunch of cable channels doesn’t scare me in the slightest. There is still an infinite amount of entertainment and news out there to consume, so IF (and I think it’s very unlikely) Comcast decides to do something nefarious (or, more likely, just annoying) with it’s large entertainment bundle, I can easily go elsewhere.

    • Cowicide says:

      IF (and I think it’s very unlikely) Comcast decides to do something nefarious (or, more likely, just annoying) with it’s large entertainment bundle, I can easily go elsewhere.

      First of all.. why do you think it’s “very unlikely” for Comcast to do something nefarious? What are you basing this conclusion on? Well, I’ve got facts to back me up, please observe previous blatant nefarious behavior from Comcast here:

      Comcast paid people to take up seats at FCC hearing
      http://government.zdnet.com/?p=3675

      Also, trippcook… you can’t “easily go elsewhere” when everything is under the umbrella of only a few companies. Why do you smack yourself in the face, trippcook? You only bring the rest of us down with you when you do it. I don’t get it.

    • Ian70 says:

      “IF…Comcast decides to do something nefarious…with it’s large entertainment bundle, I can easily go elsewhere.”
      For now you may be able to easily go elsewhere. Many cities have no real alternative to Comcast. Having no choice means having NO RECOURSE.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, count me in the who cares shoot your TV Elvis-style camp. At least until these guys get control of the internet.

    • Cowicide says:

      Anonymous | #17 | 12:07 :

      Yeah, count me in the who cares shoot your TV Elvis-style camp. At least until these guys get control of the internet.

      Yeah, and Comcast doesn’t have anything to do with the internet.. er, what??

  17. Agies says:

    What does the Sheinhardt Wig Company have to say about this?

  18. Anonymous says:

    Fat Profits headline actually shows revenue, not profit.

    These things are only any good if they are factual or neutral.

  19. Cowicide says:

    By the way, here’s direct (and easy) action you can do right now if you are armed with the facts and concerned (not panicked) about this:

    https://secure.freepress.net/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=375

  20. wispsmoke says:

    All right, Earth, let’s show these aliens what we’re made of! It’s time to knuckle under and REALLY lick boot, give them whatever they want!

    … er… I mean, Earthlings would rather stand proudly than give up even one, measly, President, right?

  21. simonbarsinister says:

    Bah. I cancelled cable last year. Neither I nor my family with three kids has missed it a bit. I still watch a few things on Hulu and my kids watch DVDs (we still have a TV).

    Now we watch WHAT WE WANT, WHEN WE WANT IT. Now that we never watch whatever dreck happens to be on at the time we only watch TV 2-3 hours a week. We have filled this time with board games like Settlers and Carcasonne, reading, internet, and new hobbies like making our own toys out of polymer clay, writing our own “comics” and stories, etc.
    There has been a noticeable increase in HAPPINESS in our house.

  22. Anonymous says:

    The “Fat Profits” part of the label is misleading. Revenues are not profits. NBC Universal had a profit of $3.1 billion on revenues of $16.9 billion. Comcast had a profit of $2.5 billion on revenues of $34.3 billion. Not as dramatic.

  23. KurtMac says:

    This whole debacle makes me wish I reconsidered recently purchasing a home in a town where the only choice is Comcast, though it didn’t seem like a deciding factor at the time. What can an individual do to get competition in his town? Write the mayor/local politicians? Write potential competitor cable/internet companies (WOW!, for instance, who I had in the neighboring town before I moved)?

  24. Anonymous says:

    Relying on corporations like NBC and Comcast for the health of our democracy is what is hazardous.

    Who should we be relying on?

    • murrayhenson says:

      A variety of sources, as many as possible. AP, Reuters, NY Times, the BBC, Der Spiegel, Al Jazeera, CNN, your local newspaper, your local TV station(s), FoxNews, CNBC, the Daily Show, your local public radio/NPR source, Christian Monitor, Wikipedia, Indymedia, all of it and more. Be willing to do your own research, visit places and see things with your own eyes.

      I prefer to filter most of my news – local, regional, national, EU-wide, US-central and worldwide – through Google Reader/RSS feeds and I’ve just started using Livestation to deal with many video-oriented news sources. Takes a bit of time but either you want to know what’s going on and you want to take the time to get multiple viewpoints and carefully consider your position… or you don’t.

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