Anti-Comcast/NBCU group takes its case to the White House


The Coalition for Competition in Media has been battling the proposed merger of NBC Universal into Comcast all summer, and has now fired off a letter to President Barack Obama pressing for a thorough review of the transaction. Meanwhile, the FCC has asked the two parties for more info.

CCM is comprised of competitors, associations, trade groups and anti-consolidation watchdogs. It lists Bloomberg, NCTA, Free Press, Media Access Project, Sports Fan Coalition and others. A list can be found on the home page of the group’s website.

The group wrote to Obama, “Dear Mr. President: Comcast is seeking to acquire NBC Universal, and this acquisition is now pending before the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission. As you may know, Comcast is presently the largest provider of both cable and broadband Internet access services and owns must-have local sports programming in many of the nation’s largest media markets. NBC Universal owns not only the NBC and Telemundo television networks and their 26 local broadcast stations, but also some of the most watched cable news and entertainment networks, along with the Universal movie and television studios. Without question, this combination of content and distribution would give the combined company unprecedented power nationally and in local media markets around the country, affecting TV viewers and Internet users everywhere, and, importantly, it comes before your administration at a critical time in the development between cable and Internet content.”

Meanwhile, the FCC gave both NBCU and Comcast a new set of questions, asking for responses by 10/18/10.
Among other things, FCC asked NBCU for its two most recent carriage agreements for its broadcast stations, and four cable channels – USA, Oxygen, Chiller and Sleuth. It also wants information on Hulu, and on advertising revenue.

Comcast was also asked for info on its carriage relationships with various entities, along with many other questions concerning the company’s internal decision-making processes.