American Cable Association president Matt Polka has come out strongly against any combination of Comcast and Fox programming, saying his association would fight to block such a deal deal.
On the news that Comcast had made an all-cash offer for the 21st Century Fox assets Disney is eyeing, Polka said such a meld would not be good for either consumers or competition.
"ACA will join with consumers and others fighting against higher prices and anticompetitive practices to stop such a deal," he said.
ACA was no big fan of the combination of Disney and the Fox assets, either. Those Fox assets in play include which include cable channels FX, FXX, National Geographic, the 20th Century Fox TV and movie studio, 22 regional sports networks and U.K. satellite assets, but do not include Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, Fox Broadcasting Company and "certain other assets."
"Comcast/NBCU's owning these assets is even more harmful," he said. "Comcast already has the incentive and ability to leverage NBCU programming to harm consumers and competition. What's more, the conditions the FCC once used to rein in Comcast/NBCU's propensity for bad acts have expired. As a result, Comcast can keep raising the price for consumers for its television, sports, and cable programming by threatening to withhold all of this programming at once. And, by being able to carry NBCU programming at more favorable rates and terms than it charges rivals, Comcast can also harm its competition to totally dominate the market."
Polka cited the combination of regional sports nets and national programming that the combined company would control as a big reason the deal would be anticonsumer.
Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.
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