Comcast-NBC Uni critics write Obama

Push for thorough review; Comcast highlights long process

NEW YORK - A group opposing the Comcast-NBC Universal merger published a letter to President Obama on Monday, asking him to “ensure this unprecedented combination receives the [regulatory] scrutiny that it deserves.”  

Comcast, meanwhile, highlighted that the regulatory review is already one of the longest-running in the industry and that the group is made up of industry competitors.

“Given Comcast’s well-documented business practices, consumers are threatened by increased cable and Internet rates, fewer entertainment choices and independent voices in news and other content, and less competitive pressure to improve Comcast’s notoriously poor customer service,” the Coalition for Competition in Media said in its letter to the President.
Given that Comcast recently named its COO Steve Burke as CEO-designate of NBC Universal, the group argued that the cable giant is acting as if the regulatory review was already done. “In short, Comcast’s actions are a complete affront to the regulatory process and the job asked of your administration to protect consumers and competition,” it said.

The coalition is made up of 24 public interest groups and companies, including Bloomberg, WealthTV, the National Association of Independent Networks, Common Cause, Media Access Project, the Parents Television Council and the WGA.

“The Comcast-NBCU transaction has already been the most thoroughly reviewed merger in media history - with one of the longest FCC comment period and the most congressional hearings, six, of any similar transaction,” a Comcast spokeswoman said in a reaction. “For a lobbying coalition funded by our competitors to imply the review of this transaction has not been deliberate and thorough is insulting to the Congress, the FCC and the Department of Justice.”
She also reiterated Comcast’s argument that the deal is pro-competitive and “fully in the public interest.”