Comcast-NBC Universal Deal Could Cost Consumers Billions

The plan by Comcast (CMCSA) to take a majority interest in NBC Universal (GE) could cost consumers $2.4 billion over the next nine years -- at least that is what the American Cable Association says. The organization represents hundreds of small cable companies.

The reason for the additional costs is that the new combined firm would have tremendous pricing power as it marries its cable carrier operations with its content-producing business. The ACA opposes Federal Communications Commission and Justice Department approval of the transaction unless a number of restrictions are added.

"It is clear that the Comcast-NBCU deal will send monthly cable bills higher by billions of dollars over the next decade, underscoring ACA's view that regulators must protect consumers and competition from a transaction whose benefits are vastly outweighed by its harms. Without meaningful and cost effective conditions on the Comcast-NBCU transaction, regulators also run the risk of crippling effective competition in the pay-TV distribution market," ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said.

ACA's study was conducted by William Rogerson, professor of economics at Northwestern University, who once served as the FCC's chief economist. The work claims that if the two companies remain separate, cable subscribers would pay less for service over the next decade. Rogerson's analysis shows that by not imposing conditions on NBCU's national cable networks, the government would leave nearly two-thirds of the transaction's harms unaddressed, the ACA reported.

The ACA goes on to suggest a series of restrictions on the Comcast-NBCU deal. These include a proposal that "All pay television providers, including bargaining agents, that cannot reach a mutual agreement with Comcast-NBCU for any of its programming may submit a dispute to binding baseball-style commercial arbitration."

While the study is not tainted, it may be biased by the fact that small cable networks acting in concert are attempting to block a deal that involves a much larger cable entity. It appears the NBCU deal will receive government approval, so their requests will likely go unheeded.

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americans crack me up. they gripe about the cost of things yet like the one commentor they pay $200.00 for cable/sattellite tv, $45.00 for cell phones, $7.00 a pack for cigarettes $210.00 a month, eat out several times a month $60.oo a month, buy wii and games for kids, $50.0075.00 a month. allowance to kids with no chores or responsibnilities $40.00/60.00 a month. car insurance for kids cars #100/150.00 a month. and i am sure there is more. but jsut on these things it totals approximately $700.00 not to mention any credt cards. and they wonder why they are struggling. this doesnt even include label clothes like aeripostel, tennis shoes and the likes. a lot of american families and spending this much or more and we wonder why our kids are growing up the way they are. almost demanding that they get everything they want. a lot of american famlies are doing a severe injustice to their kids by GIVING them everything they want but when the kids grow up and cant have all these expensive items they are lost, and confused why they can no longer live this landish/very expensive life style. wake up america we are raising a society of i wants, and i deserve and with that comes a desire for more free entitlements like we are seeing now. and heaven forbid they be accountable for anything. its a me me me society that these people are rasing and it will come home to roost and thats when the problem begins. damn shame...

November 10 2010 at 7:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This sucks. Comcast is a terrible company to start with. This merger should not be allowed. Comcast doesn't give a whit about its customers; just about making money. Their customer service is a joke.

November 09 2010 at 8:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Georgia A McD

We can always change to another server if this happens.

November 09 2010 at 7:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


November 09 2010 at 3:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My monthly argument with comcast has been ongoing now since july when my bill suddenly jupmed from 154 to 228 per month..They said I had been on a promotional all that time!!..So..the next moth came and my bill was 245.00...this time I called and cut back on the services I had had for years and even got a refund since they bill one month in I got a refund or so thay claim...they keep adding the refund back onto my bill every month ...Just had another discussion with comcast yesterday and got no results..but a survey company called right afterwards to ask me to rate comcast and their services...They offered the 1- 10 rating and I gave comcast 0...there's no hope for Americans to ever get out from under the dominance of american's become the american way so they just keep on ripping us off and getting by with it..

November 09 2010 at 2:25 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Comcast could improve NBC and MSNBC by firing all there so called journalists immediately and replacing them with journalists that reflect American values!

November 09 2010 at 2:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to wongtpa's comment

I am an american and they sure do relect my values...yours is likely more suited to just stay over there

November 09 2010 at 2:27 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

comcast used our hard earned money we use to pay our monthly cable bill to make this purchase for billions. that means comcast is overcharging us if they can afford this purchase. none of us are getting any benefit out of this except comcast. If you are a subscriber, you will probably get a notice of a rate increase in 2011. comcast has all the politicans in Wash. in their pocket so nothing will be done.

November 09 2010 at 2:10 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

Changing over to the dish who cares

November 09 2010 at 2:04 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Lenny's comment
Georgia A McD

Be prepared to lose it when a breeze comes along................ Direct TV was very dishonest with their billing and horrible service. I'd never go back.

November 09 2010 at 7:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Comcast: that Liberal Media do its thing

November 09 2010 at 1:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I did not hear the ACA complaining much when the cable industry was deregulated and it cost consumers a bundle. Only recently are there viable options to cable with AT&T and Verizon. They wanted it deregulated and they have lived fat because of the deregulation. If it bites some of them now, so be it. It is the free enterprise they asked for.

November 09 2010 at 1:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply