NBC to viewers: Speak now or never

The Comcast Center in Philadelphia, and an NBC sign at its studios in Burbank, Calif.


Steve Chiotakis: Well over the next few weeks, NBC television viewers may tune in for their favorite programs to find, instead, a version of this announcement:

NBC Comcast Announcement: On January 28, 2010, an application was filed with the Federal Communications Commission for approval of the transfer of control of NBC . . .

That legalese relates to the sale of NBC-Universal to Comcast. Now why should you care about the fine print on the deal? Here's Marketplace's Jeff Tyler.

Jeff Tyler: The announcement is the legal equivalent of "Speak now or forever hold your peace." The proposed deal would marry two media giants, NBC Universal and Comcast. The public has about a month to raise objections with the Federal Communications Commission.

Andrew Schwartzman is CEO of the Media Access Project. He argues that the merger could kill competition from the Internet sites like Hulu and home video companies like Netflix.

Andrew Schwartzman: Netflix is concerned that Comcast will withhold the Universal Pictures films, which Comcast is acquiring, from Netflix. So that the only way that you can get this large stable of motion picture films is by subscribing to Comcast.

And he's concerned about more merger announcements from other companies.

Schwartzman: We fear that if this transaction is approved, there will be a rush for additional consolidation and more sales will take place.

But for now, the NBC-Comcast merger announcement will continue to air on TV through the month. Public notices will also run in newspapers, as required by law.

I'm Jeff Tyler for Marketplace.

About the author

Jeff Tyler is a reporter for Marketplace’s Los Angeles bureau, where he reports on issues related to immigration and Latin America.
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Let’s put this in perspective for a moment. If no one watches NBC how long will Comcast hang on to it? Secondly, this is a simple lesson on economics, if advertisers aren’t getting eye balls on their product they will go somewhere to best suite their advertising needs. Therefore, if no one is advertising on a station the station isn’t getting dollars for the programming. No money, no viewers equals a new game plan must take place. We the people have more power than you realize. We just need to come together and exercise our rights in our free market enterprise.

I will not trust news, entertainment, or political opinions from a mega- corporation. I will switch to another channel and support PBS. Enough is enough of "Too Big to Fail."

Consolidation of outlets is one thing, but this type of consolidation is more like the second coming of (drum roll) the good old days of "trusts." For those who have read the early twentieth century novel "The Octopus" or know that Leland Stanford not only created a toney college (named after himself, naturally) and represented big railroads, but also set the tone for all large enterprises - "Our charges? As much as the traffic will bear." Big business is sloppy, inefficient and - mostly - greedy.

Comcast doesn't want or need NBCU to make more money. Record profits and record shareholder payments without this 'deal'.
This is really about 3 things.
1) Killing free over the air broadcast TV.
2) Stopping legal Internet TV before it becomes a choice for the normal TV viewer.
3) Shutting down the liberal voices on MSNBC.
Reason 3 is why no one on the right has a problem with the deal. Elected GOP leaders know the folks that run Comcast are so far to the right that they make the Tea Klux Klan look reasonable. And elected Dem's are nothing but weak spineless puppies and will do anything their masters at the content cartels tell them.
I would call my congressman but after his buttload of Comcast stock just had a 2.9% gain in fourth-quarter revenue and a 136% jump in per-share earnings why in the world would he care about his voters?
Thank you American Public Media for having the guts to speak out on this.

I am definitely against this merger. We all know that this will kill competition regardless of any promises made by the big companies. I don't want big companies to monopolize the competition and therefore limit my freedom from whom I purchase my services.

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