Here are what commentators and the media are saying about the Comcast/ TWC merger. Be sure to stay up to speed on the latest developments.
“If these two companies are allowed to merge — if Comcast becomes ‘Mega Comcast’ — 50 percent of all high-speed broadband homes receiving 25 megabits per second downstream — what Federal Communications Committee (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler said is ‘fast becoming table stakes’ — will belong to Comcast…Moreover, Mega Comcast’s network will pass almost two-thirds of all homes, giving it ample room to further grow its market dominance.”
“If allowed to gobble up Time Warner Cable, Comcast will have tremendous leverage over content distribution in today and tomorrow’s marketplace…Today’s creators increasingly rely on the Internet to reach audiences and earn a living. This is something that regulators must consider, especially in light of the ongoing debate over net neutrality.”
“A blog post by Comcast VP Sena Fitzmaurice repeated the company's talking point that ‘if the proposed transaction goes through, consumers will not lose a choice of cable companies. Consumers will not lose a choice of broadband providers. And not a single market will see a reduction in competition. Those are simply the facts.’ But in the original version of this blog post, that paragraph was followed by a seemingly out-of-place sentence. It said, ‘We are still working with a vendor to analyze the FCC spreadsheet but in case it shows that there are any consumers in census blocks that may lose a broadband choice, want to make sure these sentences are more nuanced.’"
“If this merger is approved, there is no limiting principle upon which the government could stop any cable company acquisition by Comcast outside its service area. Yet, that is exactly what Comcast is proposing: ‘no overlap, no problem.’”
“Fourth-quarter growth is expected amid recent developments that include Comcast’s long-term agreement to distribute Univision Deportes sports cablers to its XFinity TV customers who subscribe to its Digital Preferred or XFinity Latino service. That expanded distribution deal came on the heels of Univision going public with its concerns about Comcast’s use of its market power in relation to its pending merger with Time Warner Cable. ‘I remain on guard,’ said CEO Randy Falco about the $45 billion mega-merger.”
“In a recent customer satisfaction survey that included other major telephone, television and Internet service providers, Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Cable Inc. finished at or near the bottom in every category in every region of the country. Pretty impressive.”
“Several House Republicans expressed concern on Thursday that a merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable would give the new company undue influence over the potential success of cable channels whose programming might compete with Comcast’s…Republican and Democratic representatives also raised concerns about Comcast’s post-merger ability to pick winners and losers in the cable and broadband business because of its influence over regional sports networks, several of which it owns, and over Internet video companies whose offerings compete with Comcast’s television programming.”
Franken calls merger between Comcast-Time Warner a 'disaster
The Hill, April 13, 2014
“Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) said Sunday that Comcast's plans to purchase Time Warner Cable would harm competition and raise prices in cable television and broadband internet… Asked if there is any upside in the deal for consumers, Franken said, ‘I can't see one. I mean, I really can't.’"
“Television distribution in the United States is broken. The system denies consumers reasonable choices at affordable prices. Comcast’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable will make a dismally performing and anticompetitive industry even worse.”
“The proposed merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable into a telecommunications behemoth is the media equivalent of ‘too big to fail’ banking. If the largest cable provider in the United States is allowed to merge with the second-largest, people living in major cities, suburbs and small towns across the country will find themselves even more tightly locked into a dysfunctional relationship with a monopolistic corporation focused on maximizing profits rather than serving local citizens.”
“Consumer advocates, industry analysts and cable customers wasted little time Thursday in airing concerns about the blockbuster deal to combine Comcast and Time Warner Cable, the nation's two largest cable companies…[The] proposed merger comes at a time when customer satisfaction with the cable TV industry — and the two companies in particular — is low.”
“A larger Comcast is also troubling for television programmers, which are constantly in tough negotiations with cable and satellite companies over carriage fees. More customers probably gives Comcast leverage when those talks stall. That's especially worrying for small programmers who only command a small number of viewers. But large programmers can also run into trouble.”
“Comcast’s $45 billion bid for Time Warner Cable would create a cable television behemoth in an industry that has steadily increased prices for bundles of channels and services that many consumers dislike but feel forced to buy.”