NBC, Comcast headed to the Hill


The proposed merger of a major television network and a major cable company is going to be dragged over the coals by Kohl – Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI), Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights. A hearing is expected late this month.

According to reports, both Brian Roberts of Comcast and Jeff Zucker of NBC Universal are likely to be called to testify. Other likely witnesses are a consumer watchdog and an executive from a competitor.

The Subcommittee is part of the Judiciary Committee, which features seven Democrats v. only three Republicans, headed by Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT).

According to Reuters, Comcast’s Fancast Xfinity, which is linked to a multi-company project known as TV Everywhere, may also come up at the hearing.

RBR-TVBR observation: This is a subcommittee of one of two Senate Committees that could host a session on Comcast/NBCU, the other being Commerce. It has a relevant subcommittee, and there are mirror committees and subcommittees in the House, leaving open the possibility of seven additional hearings. We don’t think there will be that many, but we’re also sure this will be the first, not the last.