Thursday, October 1, 2009

Comcast in talks to purchase NBC Universal?? Nooooo!!!

The Wrap broke the news yesterday that Comcast was in talks with General Electric about buying NBC Universal from them. My immediate reaction to this is horror.

I know, I know, it's almost impossible to imagine a world today without major media conglomerates, and I'm ok with that - but the thought of a cable company owning a content provider upsets me a LOT. I'll just go ahead and say that part of why this upsets me is because it's NBC. I hold a special place in my heart for the peacock network and believe that they often value their content more than their ratings, unlike their peer networks. Regardless, the thought of any cable company owning a broadcast network is disconcerting. Cable companies, for the most part, serve the purpose of delivering content to their viewers - not creating content (and the little content they do create is pretty worthless). I really believe that it is good for these two acts to be separated and that any cross-over could stifle creativity. Even more worrisome is the thought that Comcast could potentially prevent other cable companies from having access to certain NBC content.

Also, there may be certain FCC implications with all of this. I'm not sure what exactly the FCC's rules are for cross-ownership of cable and broadcast, but given the FCC's relaxing of cross-ownership rules in general lately, it seems like this may not be an issue? I plan to look into the regulatory aspects of this more because frankly, I find it fascinating, but regardless of all that, I am really not pleased with the potential for this deal to go through! Here's hoping The Wrap has their information incorrect....but, honestly, is it only a matter of time before cable providers and content providers are one and the same!? UGH!


Susie said...

Hmm interesting. I wonder if there would also be any anti-trust hurdles for them to get around. But other than the would it be all that bad? Because really, how weird is it that GE, an engineering company, owns NBC?? I can't imagine that this current relationship offers many economies of scale opportunities for either of them to capitalize on. And maybe this is very naive of me, but I don't see how or why Comcast would want to mess with NBC's content.

pgv said...

Oh I don't think Comcast would mess with NBC's content per say, I think they could do things to withhold the content from non Comcast subscribers or stuff like that. Like you know the whole Friday Night Lights/DirecTV deal, where the show first airs on DirecTV? Well Comcast could make it such that a show like FNL only airs on Comcast and if you don't have it then you don't see FNL. Or maybe I'm being too cynical?