The biggest voice in Washington for America’s smallest and independently owned MVPDs has voiced its opinion on the announced plan by Comcast to purchase 21st Century FOX after certain assets are sold to The Walt Disney Co.
“News that Comcast is preparing an offer for the programming assets Fox has agreed to sell to Disney is not good for consumers and competition,” American Cable Association President/CEO Matthew M. Polka said in a statement.
ACA has already raised concerns that Disney ownership of Fox programming will harm consumers by increasing prices and limiting choice.
Now, Polka argues, “Comcast/NBCU’s owning of these assets is even more harmful. Comcast already has the incentive and ability to leverage NBCU programming to harm consumers and competition. What’s more, the conditions the FCC once used to rein in Comcast/NBCU’s propensity for bad acts have expired. As a result, Comcast can keep raising the price for consumers for its television, sports, and cable programming by threatening to withhold all of this programming at once. And, by being able to carry NBCU programming at more favorable rates and terms than it charges rivals, Comcast can also harm its competition to totally dominate the market.”
If Fox agrees to sell to Comcast, he contends, “these problems get only worse because the combined company would own the vast majority of regional sports networks across the country and increase its roster of popular national programming networks.”
What will ACA do? Polka says the organization “will join with consumers and others fighting against higher prices and anticompetitive practices to stop such a deal.”