Comcast Says Netflix Criticism Off Base

Comcast fired back Monday after Netflix execs took aim at the proposed Time Warner cable deal in a letter to shareholders telling them it opposed the merger.

In that letter, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and CFO David Wells said that "the combined company would possess even more anticompetitive leverage to charge arbitrary interconnection tolls for access to their customers." They said, “For that reason, Netflix opposes the merger.”

Netflix recently struck a paid peering deal with Comcast, but Hastings has since suggested it was something of a shotgun marriage and reiterated in the letter that the company felt it had no choice. Comcast has countered that Netflix came up with the proposal looking to cut out the middleman and deal directly with Comcast.

“Netflix's opposition to our Time Warner Cable transaction is based on inaccurate claims and arguments," said Jennifer Khoury (pictured), senior VP, corporate and digital communications, for Comcast. “There has been no company that has had a stronger commitment to openness of the Internet than Comcast and we are the only ISP in the country that is currently legally bound by the FCC’s vacated net neutrality rules,” she said. ”In fact, one of the many benefits of our proposed transaction with Time Warner Cable will be the extension of Net Neutrality protections to millions of additional Americans."

"Netflix is free to express its opinions," she said. "But they should be factually based. And Netflix should be transparent that its opinion is not about protecting the consumer or about net neutrality. Rather, it’s about improving Netflix’s business model by shifting costs that it has always borne to all users of the Internet and not just to Netflix customers.”

John Eggerton

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.