Black coalition objects to Comcast-NBCU merger


The National Coalition of African American Owned Media is charging that despite the fact Comcast operates in many markets with high concentrations of African Americans, it does not offer a single cable channel that is 100% owned by African Americans. Not only does the group oppose Comcast’s proposed merger with NBCU, it says it will encourage boycotting the service.

NCAAOM is employing the services of former FCC Chair Kevin Martin to make its case, as is financial journalism outfit Bloomberg.

Stanley E. Washington, NCAAOM President & CEO stated, “The time has come for Comcast to know that African Americans will no longer live on the Comcast plantation. Comcast must immediately do business with African American owned media in a significant way. Until they do so, we’re continuing to boycott and actively campaign to have African American families and our supporters disconnect Comcast services.”

NCAAOM says that the African-American content that is carried is not wholly owned by minorities, citing BET, owned by Viacom, and Radio One’s TV One, in which Comcast has a 33% stake.

Washington estimates that African Americans contribute $15B in revenue to Comcast annually, and said they are present in strength in many important Comcast markets. “For example, in Philadelphia — the city in which Comcast is headquartered — African Americans make up more than 43% of the city’s population. A little more than half of all residents of Washington D.C. are African American. In Detroit, 8 out of 10 residents are African American. Other Comcast markets with high concentrations of African American subscribers include: Atlanta, Baltimore, Birmingham, Chicago, Jackson MS, Memphis, New Orleans, Oakland CA, Pittsburgh, Raleigh-Durham and many more.”

Washington said that between them, Comcast and NBCU will have 44 O&O cable networks, with more probably on the way, and he suspects that efforts to include them in a typical local system’s channel lineup will even further choke out independent channels, including those 100% owned by African Americans.