Children’s television watchdog Parents Television Council is calling for “an exhaustive public interest review” of the Comcast/NBCU transaction, saying if it goes through, the concerns of stockholders will be #1, well ahead of the concerns of children and consumers.
PTC said that consumer choice is endangered by the deal, and urged close scrutiny by the Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission.
“This announcement is a classic example of Wall Street versus Main Street, and sadly it is a zero-sum game,” said PTC’s Tim Winter. “Wall Street will find nothing but good with this merger; Main Street will find nothing good. The history of merging entertainment producers with entertainment distributors has proven all that we need know: Consumers – and especially children and families – will be thrown under the bus if it raises the share price of the combined company’s stock by a penny.”
Winter said the resulting conglomerate would have enough market power to “…coerce carriage of programming it owns regardless of market demand.” That will eliminate consumer choice at a time when PTC would rather see subscribers have the power to pick and choose which channels are included on their own channel lineup. He called the merger a step in the wrong direction.
“Any regulatory approval of this merger must be conditional upon an across-the-board unbundling of all cable network programming. We call upon decision-makers in Washington to look past the volume of campaign dollars that have poured into their coffers by the individuals and entities involved with this merger. The public demands that they exhaustively review the anti-trust issues inherently raised by this merger and realize that at its very core, the Comcast-NBC deal impedes the concept of consumer choice and is blatantly anti-consumer and anti-family,” Winter concluded.