Posted Wednesday, February 11, 2004 8:43 AM | Contributed by Jeff
Comcast, the largest U.S. cable television operator, Wednesday launched a stunning proposal to buy Walt Disney in a deal Comcast said would value Disney at $66 billion including debt. If successful, the deal would vault Comcast into one of the world's largest media companies, combining Disney's film studio, ABC television network, ESPN sports network and theme parks with Comcast's 21 million cable subscribers.
Read more from C-Net News.com.
Well, it is a little complicated but the short answer is that Disney would rather see it's own shows on the network. That would be fine if they were producing some quality shows that people care about but it isn't happening. So, they are treading water with average at best programming while the others vault out ahead of them.
ABC was a much better network before Disney came along. I think that is pretty obvious.
With what the cable industry is doing with cable rates, I'm not sure I want to see Comcast influencing decisions about theme park admissions, etc.
I'm not a big fan of Comcast. It was their exorbitant rates that caused me to switch to DirecTV and DSL.
I've only seen the movie once, so bear with me, but Comcast is like the bad guy in Aladdin, it seems. Gaining great power, growing, growing, and growing seemingly without bounds. But, just when they hit their peak, everything just comes crashing down. Not only would we end up with a red and white Disney world, but I think within a few years, either Disney would be up for sale again or just plain have to shut down as Comcast falls.
It also strikes me as somewhat of a conflict of interest issue if the cable company all of a sudden owns ABC, the Disney channel and ESPN? Maybe not ABC as you can usually get that with rabbit ears, but Comcast relies on ESPN and Disney channel to pay their bills doesn't it?
I'd worry more about Comcast owning Disney's theme parks than I do about NBC owning Universal's theme parks, just because it's so much larger a percentage of the company. If this goes through (which I doubt... I have fantasies of this playing out just like the early 80's with Roy managing to divert the hostile takeover by installing a new board of directors and new CEO) I could seriously see Comcast selling off the parks and having hte new park owners just be a licensee (a'la OLC... and of course, if the new owner WERE the OLC we'd all be happy campers)
Cable companies don't do anything well. Seriously, the only "good" cable company I've ever encountered was one run by the local municipality, and there are only a handful of those nationwide (and yes, they're always cheaper).
If the FCC isn't looking a little harder at ownership limitations again, they should be. The regulation of spectrum and natural monopolies like cable and phone companies is completely justified because these are scarce resources. You can't create more radio spectrum and it's cost prohibitive to string up a competing phone or cable system.
The FCC back in the day promoted "diversity in the marketplace of ideas" by heavily regulating these resources, because they obviously could see the danger in few companies controling what you could see over said resources. That pretty much went out the window when they started lifting ownership limits in radio, where a condition of being a licensed broadcaster is supposed to be that you serve the public interest, yet two or three companies now own everything and run it out of New York and LA. Real public interest there.
It's a bad idea, and the FTC and FCC should be looking really hard at this.
If the FCC isn't looking a little harder at ownership limitations again
In the current administration? Given recent FCC actions? Don't hold your breath.
Walt: the only thing holding me back is that my DVR is a ReplayTV, and that investment would be just about worthless in a DirectTV world. From the pricing I've done, I'd be saving only a few dollars a month with a programming package equivalent to what I have now---the broadband access is paid through a work account.
But, I've had the Replay for 2.5 years now, and Comcast has been ticking me off consistently of late, so perhaps it's time to say goodbye.
Just my $.02
My situation was probably a little different than yours. One example - I wanted TechTV. Comcast only offers TechTV in a special package with a handful of other channels for $10/month. So I paid the extra $10, basically, to have TechTV. DirecTV includes TechTV in their Total Choice Plus package, so I saved $10 right there.
*** This post was edited by Gemini 2/11/2004 11:27:28 AM ***
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