Folks Fuss Over FCC's CNBCU Deal
The Federal Communications Commission's conditions for the merger of Comcast with NBC-Universal are attracting comment. Media giants are dreading what will happen at the negotiating table as they cut deals for their own content. At the same time, others are saying that the FCC's net neutrality rules don't go far enough.
The initial fussing is coming from Disney and News Corp., both of whom own motion picture studios, TV networks, and cable channels. One of their concerns is the FCC's requirement that Comcast make available programming it owns to online video services it doesn't own. This could complicate their ongoing negotiations with the likes of Netflix and Apple, pointed out The Wall Street Journal.
Moreover, says the Journal: "Such a condition might also lessen their control over how the online video market evolves, making it harder for them to reserve their content for particular services. It would also mean that Time Warner or Disney couldn't try out a new video platform without knowing that the service's owner would also get NBC content, and it could make it easier for Internet video services to acquire content, making them more formidable challengers to cable and satellite companies." The newspaper dutifully points out that it is owned by News Corp.
Meanwhile, net neutrality advocates are saying the FCC's rules are "not strong enough," in the words of Sen. Al Franken (D-MN): "I hate this merger. Not only will it raise prices on TV subscriptions, it will give the combined entity incredible power to stifle competition from online sources like Netflix. I'm hearing that Comcast is already preparing to pull NBC Universal's programming from Netflix when it's next up for review."