Consumers group worried about Comcast/NBCU power over internet TV


Consumer Federation of America’s Mark Cooper, recently had an ex parte meeting with two key FCC officials, Chief of Staff Edward P. Lazarus and Senior Counsel for Transactions John Flynn, in which he warned of the power the merged Comcast and NBCU would have over both the provision and distribution of internet video content.

Cooper said that on the supply-side, the merged entity could either withhold or restrict access to Comcast and NBC programming; and on the distribution side, it could tie access to its programming to acquisition of Comcast broadband service, or either degrade the quality or restrict the distribution of competing program suppliers.

According to a CFA summary of the meeting Cooper argued that if the FCC does not turn down the merger, “…it must place conditions on it that effectively deal with all four of these problems, or the merger would result in a significant reduction in competition in the Internet TV product space.”