Comcast execs led by executive vice president David Cohen pitched the Time Warner Cable deal to FCC commissioners last week in meetings over a couple of days.
Their take, according to one pitchee, boiled down to no harm, no foul in three key areas:
*No horizontal harms because the sub count would come in under the FCC's old 30% cap on a cable's subs, which a court threw out.
*No vertical harms because Comcast has already been there, done that via the FCC's conditions on the merger with NBCU, which conditions will extend automatically to the Time Warner Cable systems when they become Comcast systems.
*No broadband harms because Comcast is still subject to the FCC's anti-blocking and anti-discrimination rules through 2018 (and likely longer as a condition of the new deal, which would then apply those conditions to TWC as well). And because the broadband market has changed, and regardless of how many broadband subs the combined companies will have, it is hardly the only broadband game in town.
The Comcast team also pitched the combined company as providing a stronger force in the ad market. Cable and satellite companies are looking to compete for some of those targeted local political ads, for example, and the Justice Department has expressed concerns about station joint sales agreements being anti-competitive. Pitching Comcast as a force in political ad sales might resonate in that space.
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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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