Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., this week warned that Comcast (CMCSA) may pull NBC Universal programming from Netflix (NFLX) when the agreement is next up for renewal, Ars Technica reported. Franken opposed the Comcast-NBC Universal merger, which federal regulators approved earlier this week.

Speaking at a Netroots Nation gathering in Minnesota, Franken said the merger will increase television subscription prices and stifle competition from potentially cheaper sources of entertainment distribution, such as Netflix. Franken, a former cast member and writer for NBC's "Saturday Night Live," also said the Federal Communication Commission's rules regarding net-neutrality are too weak.

The Comcast deal calls for the country's largest cable company to buy 51% of NBC Universal from General Electric (GE) for $13.8 billion. The Federal Communications Commission imposed several regulations on the deal, including requiring Comcast to make NBC programming available to competing cable companies, satellite operators and other Internet video services. With the acquisition, Comcast also gains a 30% stake in Hulu, a competitor to Netflix in streaming video.

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Why does anyone think this will stop with just Netflix? If this merger goes through, I predict that within three years we will see a number of NBC channels (NBC, USA, MSNBC, E!, Bravo, Syfy, G4, and many more) cease to be offered to DirecTV, DISH, Time Warner, Insight, and other cable companies. Or, at a minimum, disappear for a while during contract negotiations. Got a competitor in a particular market? Withhold major network programming from them. No more competitor. This merger will be bad for more than just consumers' pocket books. It will destroy competition. This is precisely what the anti-monopoly laws were created to prevent, but will they be used? Not with billionaires and corporations owning all the politicians, and the Supreme Court officially sanctioning that ownership. Oh well.

January 25 2011 at 12:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I had the Time-Warner basic-stadard package but cut the cord (cancelled my cable) when they started to move the more popular channels to their higher tier digital levels. Those upper tiered levels have hundreds of channels that I probably would never watch and they cost an absolute fortune each month. Plus, I would have to rent one of their converter boxes since I have an analog tv. Practically all of channels have commercials, so why do these cable companies keep increasing their prices?.....because folks are willing to pay the rip-off prices they charge for a few hours of entertainment....NOT ME!

January 22 2011 at 4:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Cindy's comment

Correction.....Time-Warner basic-standard package....It's late, and I'm

January 22 2011 at 4:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Cable companies need to get with the times fast. I for one have Directv and pay $50 a month after they gave me discounts since I called to cancel. Thats considerably cheap compared to what some people pay, but listening to these big bigs moan about how they demand billions for their content is rediculous. Theres way to much technology out there to charge those prices. The more they try to regulate this the more people will either steal it from bittorrents, or cut the cord. I'll read the newspaper again for news and stream my tv shows for $10. Who cares. I don't own any of these companies, but I am starting to hate cable more and more everyday listening to them whine.

January 21 2011 at 8:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ccb13579's comment

Also Time Warner's CEO is my dads age. My dad has basic cable package because he probalby can't figure out how to stream movies. Ask any 20 something year old what they use the internet for and I assure you the answer will be this: Jokingly first, "porn, then facebook, twitter, download music and download movies" In that order. I can't think of anyone I know who has ever paid for music or a movie online so you might as well forget your pride and at least get some money for 3rd party streaming.

If not, in a few years you can hang out on the porch with the Blockbuster CEO and talk about how great things were back in the day when the price of a gallon of gas was a nickel.

January 21 2011 at 9:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply