NBC Universal chief sticks to script over Comcast deal on analyst call

Posted Tuesday, December 8, 2009 11:54 AM | Contributed by Jeff

The No. 1 cable operator will make it possible for people to “view their favorite films and TV shows more readily and easily” on cable and new digital technologies, NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker told Wall Street analysts Monday at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference. “The consumer is the winner out of this. That’s the story we’ll tell to regulators over the next year.”

Read more from USA Today.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009 12:50 PM

Excuse my skepicism on this, but any time a large company says "The counsumer is the winner," that usually means that the ltte guy is going to get screwed!

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009 12:56 PM

I'll say it again... not a fan of this merger. The owner of the pipe also owning the content concerns me to no end.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009 1:38 PM

I can't imagine this merger would get approved... would it?

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009 4:04 PM

I hope it doesn't.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009 4:27 PM

It might pass muster, but with some sort of proviso not to discriminate in pricing to distribute non Comcast-product.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009 4:56 PM

Technically, there is existing similar "precedent" for the completion of the merger. Not exactly an overall success by any measure, but AOL-Time Warner is a decent example of a similar situation that was allowed to happen by the regulators. A distributor owning content and the pipes through which said content is delivered.

I'm with Jeff on this one, I don't like it at all. There is a difference between TW and Comcast which I think is very important to consider. Comcast has 25-26% of the cable and broadband markets, whereas Time Warner has about half (maybe less) of that. Comcast is the largest cable and broadband provider in the nation, and them owning one of the "Big 4" broadcasters is not something that gives me fits of elation. Hopefully the Genachowski (sp?) FCC will be fighting this.

On a more "on topic" note, does anyone think that Comcast might be eager to unload the parks completely to Blackstone with licensing if they get control? Blackstone already has a controlling interest, so I don't think we'd see much difference in operations and such. However licensing - and more specifically the Spielberg contract - could prove to be an interesting and possibly major snag with that.

Last edited by maXairMike, Tuesday, December 8, 2009 5:00 PM
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Tuesday, December 8, 2009 4:57 PM

I can't imagine this merger would get approved...

I'm betting that it will. On the content end, NBC/Universal is a relatively small (but important) slice of the pie. On the distribution end, there's always the competition from satellite at least for broadcast, and possibly players from ATT and/or Verizon for broadcast and networking, depending on where you live.

I could be wrong. But, even with a democratic administration, there's still a bias to "let the market figure it out, and clean up later if necessary."

Last edited by Brian Noble, Tuesday, December 8, 2009 4:58 PM
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Wednesday, December 9, 2009 12:39 AM

There are a lot of interested agency in this case, but I don't know who has authority to block anything. FCC, FTC, SEC...

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009 1:53 AM

I believe they all have different powers to block this for different (but also overlapping) reasons. The FCC has jurisdiction here because of the communications industry and how it could effect the public communications structure. The FTC obviously because a majority player in the cable industry (the largest, actually) wants to add even more power for itself. The SEC also for obvious reasons, though not as likely, I don't think. Who has the final say? Well, that's a toss-up. However I would look for the FCC to be the biggest force behind possibly blocking the merger.

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