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Comcast: NBCU Deal Benefits Just About Everybody

The title of the House Communications Subcommittee field hearing on the Comcast/NBCU deal is "Comcast and NBC Universal: Who Benefits?"

The question refers to the proposed $30 billion joint venture, and the answer, according to Comcast Senior VP Joe Waz, includes: the economy, everybody who gets multichannel video service, Comcast or a competitor, broadcast viewers, independent programmers, communities and others. That would appear to include all the constituencies that have raised red flags about the deal.

That answer came in written testimony for the hearing Thursday in Chicago.

Waz tells the committeee that competition is "fierce" among programming distributors, and that the new company would have "no ability to restrict competition or otherwise harm the public interest." On the contrary, the deal stands to be a net plus for the public interest, he suggests, because the companies have made public interest commitments as part of the deal, and then "clarified, enhanced and supplemented" them following Comcast and NBCU executives' last appearance before the Committee Feb. 4.

Those include deals for increased diversity efforts across the company, or as Paula Madison, NBCU's chief diversity officer, described them in her testimony: "[A]n unprecedented series of commitments on all aspects of diversity within the two companies." She said those efforts were "in light of the focus by many Members of Congress on diversity issues," but on top of both companies' "solid diversity records."

As part of Waz's written testimony, he includes a list of 867 letters of support for the deal submitted to the FCC from groups including various Urban League and NAACP chapters to the American Cancer Society and Children's Museum of Naples, Fla.