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Comcast Execs Pitch TWC Deal To FCC

Comcast EVP David Cohen and SVP Kathy Zachem met with FCC officials earlier this week to talk about the Time Warner Cable merger.

According to an ex parte filing, they essentially emphasized points they have been making for months about why the deal does not reduce competition for broadband, advertising or programming.

They argued that the combined company's broadband share is not the 50% being invoked by deal opponents—it would be closer to 35.5% of fixed and only 15.5% of the total market including mobile broadband. Deal critics use the 50% figure citing it as the percentage of high-speed subs the combined companies would control, saying that is the relevant figure in a high-speed world. 

Cohen and Zachem also said the deal is not going to foreclose independent programmers and that it will make the combined company a stronger competitor for ads, not a threat to the ad market. "[T]hose raising advertising-related issues about this transaction vastly overestimate cable's role in the marketplace," they said. "Based on SNL Kagan data, only sevenpercent of local advertising revenues go to cable."

They emphasized that the FCC's review should focus on transition-specific issues.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, in a former life as a venture capitalist, talked about regulating by condition, but has pledged to Congress his FCC would look at each deal on its own merits.

They also talked about Comcast's record on diversity, which they called a "best in class" inclusion program.

"We reiterated the many compelling pro-consumer and pro-competitive public interest benefits of the transactions as explained in the parties' public interest showings, and explained why certain categories of criticisms that have been lodged thus far against the Transactions lack merit," Zachem said in the ex parte.