The betrothed in the proposed merger of Comcast and NBC Universal submitted documentation to the FCC saying that the union, if approved, would increase diversity, localism and competition – three cornerstone FCC objectives – and would spur innovation as well. They asked for a clean hearing that doesn’t air out the entire industry’s laundry.
EVP David L. Cohen detailed the contents of the filing in a blog post. One request made by the merging entities is that the transaction be treated as a transaction and not a referendum on the communications industry in general.
Cohen wrote, “With this filing, we initiate what we hope will be a constructive dialogue with the FCC and interested stakeholders, including the general public. Consistent with Commission rules and past practice, this conversation should be limited to legitimate merger-specific issues. As the Commission has said in the past, a transaction review process is not the appropriate forum to air general industry issues or to ventilate imagined or contrived grievances. We are looking forward to a thorough — and expeditious — regulatory review of this transaction, and to working with the Commission, the DOJ, Congress, and other interested parties for a successful completion of this important venture.”
Cohen also summarized how the merger would promote the four virtues of diversity, localism, competition and innovation, saying, “By bringing together NBC’s high-quality content with the technology and innovation of Comcast’s technology platform, the new venture will increase the amount, quality, variety, and availability of content more than either company could on its own, which will promote diversity. The new venture will also provide more and better local programming, including local news and information programming, advancing localism. The transaction will spur other content producers and distributors to improve their own services, enhancing competition. Our experimentation with new business models and distribution platforms to better serve consumers will promote innovation.”
Last December, they released 16 self-imposed public interest promises that they pledged would be upheld by the merged entity, including commitments to strong local news programming, increased children’s and Hispanic programming, fair treatment of PEG cable programmers and other things.
RBR-TVBR observation: We like the comment about spurring competition, in which it is explained that the transaction will inspire other companies to improve. Ya think? Perhaps the word “improve” could be replaced with the phrase “scramble to catch up.”