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Comcast to Buy 51% of NBC, GE Goes After 49%

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the no-matter-who-wins-the-consumer-loses dept.

Businesses 258

An anonymous reader writes to tell us that Comcast and General Electric announced a joint venture yesterday to control NBC Universal, with Comcast coming out with the controlling interest. Comcast's hopes seem to be on succeeding in a marriage of distribution and content, where Time Warner failed. "The deal was approved by the companies' boards, and is subject to regulatory approval. GE said it expects the deal to go through in the third quarter of 2010. Congress has already said it will hold a hearing to investigate whether Comcast will gain 'undue advantages' from the deal that gives it access to programming."

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258 comments

In other news... (4, Insightful)

pwnies (1034518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327182)

In other news, comcast announced today that they have a revolutionary way of throtteling high-tv viewers during "primetime" hours. While primetime was not explicitly defined (nor was "high-tv viewer"), they promised that this was in the best interest of their customers in order to ensure that everyone gets their fair share.

Seriously though, it'll be interesting to see what happens here. Ads for new NBC shows over broadband anyone?

Re:In other news... (5, Interesting)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327258)

This sounds dangerous to me.

Such a large company in charge of the content AND the delivery channel? What happens when this all consolidates into just a couple of companies with content and channels owned...and then the government has to bail them out, and take control of.....oh wait....

This was the way it used to be... (5, Informative)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327508)

Originally NBC was owned by the now defunct RCA. NBC was founded essentially to make content so that RCA could sell more Radios and then Televisions and all the equipment needed to create a radio and tv station. So, not only did RCA own the pipe, they had actually owned the -hardware-. Eventually GE would buy RCA in the early 1980s for the sole purpose of getting NBC. They basically kept NBC, closed RCA, but sold the logo to the French. As an Ex-RCA Employee, I still curse Jack Welch but.... in those days, the merger of RCA and GE which should have been seen as troubling was almost irrelevant as both companies were still selling tubes in the age of the transistor and Sony was really stomping up a storm.

Bottom line is, yeah, it will be a big company, but there's a lot of other media and a lot of other competition out there.

[disclosure: I live in the Philly area and, having lost the World Series to the Yankees, the thought of the NBC HQ from NYC to Philly seems like it would be really sweet. They got the team, but we get the TV].

Re:This was the way it used to be... (1)

fulldecent (598482) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327734)

They'll need more room on City Line Ave... or they could move into that new huge building that could pretty much block out the sun if they wanted to.

Re:In other news... (2, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327524)

A year from now, maybe even sooner, you'll no longer be able to watch Comcast-NBC owned channels over the net.

Goodbye Bravo.com, USA.com, or Syfy.com episodes over the net. Goodbye MSNBC.com or CNBC.com streaming livefeeds. Or else if you can still stream, they'll lock it behind a subscriber wall: free for Comcast account holders and $2 per hour for the rest of us.

If ever a monopoly needed to be busted, Comcast is it. No more exclusive licenses to supply cable tv to neighborhoods. Let other competitors enter.

Re:In other news... (1)

Icegryphon (715550) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327628)

Goodbye MSNBC.com...

And nothing of value was lost. [youtube.com]

Re:In other news... (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327870)

You make the same mistake as those who equate Glenn Beck's or Sean Hannity's views with the views of Fox.

Chris Matthews and Rachel Maddow are merely offering *their* opinions (leaning pro-big-government), not those of the network MSNBC. It says that in the credits if you ever bother to read them. Now if you had linked to this video instead, then you'd have a worthwhile point:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vu6cHrU4L4E [youtube.com]

Re:In other news... (1, Interesting)

cdrudge (68377) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327646)

So what monopoly does Comcast have again?

Re:In other news... (4, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327932)

In many areas, including my own, Comcast holds the exclusive government-granted monopoly to supply cable television. In many areas they also hold a government-granted monopoly over internet, which means you might end-up like this guy (he lost his net for a year):

Never mind. I can't find the link. ----- But in brief, he was accused by Comcast in 2007 of "downloading too much data" and they turned-off his connection for a whole year. When he asked Comcast, "How much did I use?" they said they didn't know but he was in the top 10% of downloaders, therefore they have the right to turn off his connection without any warning. And no there's no appeals process.

Monopoly.

Re:In other news... (1)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 4 years ago | (#30328018)

So which monopoly does Comcast have again?

Fixed that for you. The answer would be cable television and broadband cable.

Re:In other news... (1)

Dare nMc (468959) | more than 4 years ago | (#30328034)

So what monopoly does Comcast have again?

Lots of small monopolies on Cable TV, and Internet (I assume you add them up it might be significant.) They had a monopoly on all cable channels, and internet access at my last apartment. Also Local builders signed a contract with them into a subdivision that only a cable line would be run into all houses built in that division, and no other cabling would be allowed (so phone, internet, cable TV). So if your house didn't have a clear view of the southern sky, you had no other choice if you bought there for many services. I assume these deals have a time limit, and thus won't always be a monopoly, but they had a monopoly, not nationwide but lots of little monopolies. To me that monopoly would drastically lower the value of the house, but apparently many didn't care.

Re:In other news... (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327678)

While I doubt your situation would happen... what is more likley that only Comcast Internet / Cable subscribers would have access to the content. They already use the NHL games on their Versus channel to hold subscribers hostage that would rather switch to DirectTV.

Re:In other news... (1)

dcollins117 (1267462) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327530)

If i recall correctly Senator Sanders of Vermont filed a bill in Congress to break up financial institutions deemed "to large to fail". Whether it has any chance of passing I have no idea. Still, I'd like to see it expanded to include *any* large corporation and enacted before tax payers get bilked out of a few trillion more dollars.

Re:In other news... (1)

joeler (45203) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327614)

Forget Senator Sanders of Vermont, you won't even hear from him - the republicans were talking about buying another channel because FOX can no longer do the job alone, what better way than to turn MSNBC into FOX2.... kills two bird with one stone, get rid of those nasty liberal shows and get more right wing hate talk.

Re:In other news... (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30328002)

>>>the republicans..... turn MSNBC into FOX2

Comcast is a pro-big-government organization that receives lots of handouts from their friends in Congress and the local State Legislatures. You're not going to see any change in MSNBC's pro-big-government coverage. Corporations benefit from socialism

Re:In other news... (2, Informative)

sunking2 (521698) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327624)

This is what is happening, without government intervention. GE is 5 times the size of Comcast revenue wise. NBC is a drop in the bucket for them.

Re:In other news... (1)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327568)

Not only that, but in the control they will wield is frightening (even more so considering it's Comcast). Media delivery and content control is a powerful combination that can sway millions of people considering the size of this merger.

A horrible idea. I saw this on the Today show and my first thought was that there was no way this type of merger should be allowed. They then immeidately followed up with comments that they didn't think it would be an issue to get approval for it.

WTF?

We just went through a year of hell with companies that were 'too large to fail', and now this? Are they kidding me? On top of that, the media control alone is far to dangerous to allow.

Who's minding the chicken coup?

Re:In other news... (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327738)

"Chicken Coup"; my thoughts exactly.

What, exactly, is "too big to fail" about Comcast (a large but certainly not the only large cable company) owning half of NBC (a large but certainly not the only large TV network)? Save your energy for when Comcast buys up Time Warner or one of the other similarly large content/delivery companies. Until then, this is business as usual.

Re:In other news... (2, Interesting)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327872)

I disagree. They are the nations 3rd largest telephone provider in addition to their internet and cable business.

Back in 2002, Comcast was the largest cable provider int he US reaching 22 million users. I can only imagine how much they've grown since then. They are still the largest cable provider in the US.

They are NOT a small company. Tie that in with MSNBC's media ties, and it is not a small deal.

The merger puts Comcast in control of MSNBC (a 24 hour news channel with an enormous impact on public opinion), CNBC (which impacts public opinion about Wall Street, now a hotly debated political question), NBC network (whose nightly news show averages eight million viewers), and 27 television stations (which generally have programs covering local news).

Re:In other news... (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 4 years ago | (#30328000)

No one has batted an eye at all the other companies owning swaths of public opinion (News Corp comes to mind). Why start now? Big company deals happen all the time. Aside from the notion that some people hold that "bigger is never better" what is the actual accusation here? That they are going to turn into the next News Corp? Oh wait, News Corp is still News Corp. Nevermind.

Re:In other news... (1)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 4 years ago | (#30328044)

My personal concern is that they will hold key media outlets in business, and forums where public opinion is decided. In addition, I know personally how Comcast treats it's users.

I don't want or need another Fox news with a Comcast bent. They are a private corporation, and well within their rights to censor anything on their networks.

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30327554)

Be spied upon via new and improved comcast generally evil cable boxes.

Relational corporate assets like this ARE creepy. Suspect government and giant corporation's intentions as covertly malicious until justified otherwise.

If you're a comcast user, do yourself a favor and support a smaller or local ISP and alternative cable source, dish or direct tv.

Matured and bloated corporate capitalistic society easily transitions to enduring Fascism through government takeovers of private infrastructure. Support your local vendors, get informed.

Re:In other news... (2, Interesting)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327634)

It's funny, I read this yesterday on CNN... And for some reason, not long after I got home, NBC got blocked on my TV.

Strange.

Filed in 1938... it took until '48 to decide... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30327914)

...they promised that this was in the best interest of their customers in order to ensure that everyone gets their fair share.

This makes me think of the US v. Paramount Pictures [wikipedia.org] Supreme Court case, also known as the "Hollywood Antitrust Case of 1948". Once upon a time, film studios owned a large number of theaters. The studios-- and not the theater owners-- could dictate which films would be played and for how long (aka "block booking"), how much money would go to the studio vs. the theater etc. The result was less competition for good films, less profit for the theaters, and the studio dictated what the people saw.

This "vertical integration" -- controlling the production and delivery of the product top-to-bottom -- was decided 7-1 as an anti-competitive de facto oligopoly and the studios had to divest themselves of their theaters. The courts said that having one industry substantially control production of entertainment as well as its delivery network was monopolistic and a restraint on trade. They actually separated Paramount into two companies-- the studio (Paramount Pictures Corp.) and the theater chain (United Paramount Theaters).

I don't see how this Comcast thing is much different, but then, the underlying principals of this and most other regulatory decisions of the 1930s-40s [wikipedia.org] have been thrown out the window to favor corporations interests over those of the public.

Note that the decision in this case, if you put it in the digital age, is even more dramatic than simple "network neutrality". It doesn't just suggest you must treat all content the same when delivering content. The principal idea as I read it is that if the studios-- say, Time Warner-- produces content, they shouldn't also monopolize the industry that delivers that content (say via Time Warner Cable). NBC and Comcast, to me, would have similar issues.

I've never understood why the Paramount Decree doesn't apply automatically. Probably because the Internet grew so fast as a legit media delivery system that the laws haven't yet caught up. But it seems to me that Network Neutrality would be a compromise position promoted by these cable/ISPs to ensure fair competition so they don't get separated from their parent companies.

In fact, thinking about it, yeah-- Network Neutrality does seem to be the compromise position (almost like the public option vs. single payer). Why isn't the public (EFF, etc.) asking to kill the whole vertical monopoly system? (Or... given the makeup of the court, it might backfire, and we'd be back to Fox Theaters and Paramount Theaters everwhere...)

Incidentally, as I understand it, the same thing has already happened in TV. Back in the day, individual producers would make shows and sell the rights to show them to the networks. Now, the networks produce the shows, own the shows, and distribute the shows. Top to bottom.

Why can't they all just get along (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30327212)

and buy 50% each?

Re:Why can't they all just get along (1)

pwnies (1034518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327280)

GE already owns 80%. Comcast is just buying a majority share of the company so they have final say on any decision.

Re:Why can't they all just get along (1)

LOLLinux (1682094) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327322)

Gee, it was almost as if the GP was being sarcastic and making a joke.

Also announced... (5, Funny)

smurphmeister (1132881) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327232)

Starting immediately, CBS and ABC will now only be available as pay per view for all Comcast customers!

Re:Also announced... (1, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327560)

Nope. FCC rules require all local stations and "out of market but significantly-viewed" stations be provided free-of-charge in the basic cable package.

Re:Also announced... (1)

ericrost (1049312) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327902)

How is "in the basic cable package" "free-of-charge"? Basic cable costs money (and, hint, its not worth it). Unplug while you still can, there's a real world out there, and its more HD than HD and has surround sound.

Re:Also announced... (3, Insightful)

castironpigeon (1056188) | more than 4 years ago | (#30328008)

Unplug while you still can, there's a real world out there, and its more HD than HD and has surround sound.

/. irony at it's best.

So (1)

The Clockwork Troll (655321) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327234)

So will the Scranton branch be absorbing Stamford?

Who will Jan find to run it?

More like... (1)

Taibhsear (1286214) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327236)

Congress has already said it will hold a hearing to investigate how much money Comcast will line their pockets with in order to gain "undue advantages" from the deal that gives it access to programming.

FTFY

whom the gods would destroy they first make mad (0, Flamebait)

czarangelus (805501) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327252)

Who cares? Does anybody still watch that crap? All mainstream media outlets are giant dinosaurs too stupid to realize they're already dead. There's virtually nothing good on television anyway; ad revenues are plummeting as consumers have no more money to spend, and anybody savvy just uses BitTorrent anyway.

Good to see these propaganda arms of the State cannibalizing each other, kuru and death should follow soon enough.

Re:whom the gods would destroy they first make mad (5, Funny)

LOLLinux (1682094) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327326)

That was pretty hardcore dude. You're soooo nonconformist. Keep raging against the machine while Cheetos dust covers your neckbeard down in your parent's basement.

Re:whom the gods would destroy they first make mad (1)

gregarican (694358) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327372)

Very true. Amazingly enough in 2009 someone can get a hit on their pager, call up their buddy on a rotary-dial POTS phone, and go over the latest want ads in the local newspaper. All in a quest to move out of the basement...

Re:whom the gods would destroy they first make mad (0, Offtopic)

czarangelus (805501) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327418)

Conformists are the murderers of civilizations [nature.com]

Of course, non-conformity in one respect is often a signal that a person will have oppositional-defiant disorder in other locations as well. A person who refuses instruction in school will often be found to be intractable by religious leaders seeking to save their soul. An anti-authoritarian personality will disrupt the just and proper function of society everywhere they go; another example is insisting on a trial even when they know they're guilty. They should all be culled, but the tragic irony is that the intelligence required to maintain our institutions is the same intelligence that naturally grows in opposition to them.

Re:whom the gods would destroy they first make mad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30327494)

Ah, so not only do you have a neck beard, but you also wear Birkenstocks and a tie died T-shirt. Do you live in Berkley by any chance?

Re:whom the gods would destroy they first make mad (0, Offtopic)

LOLLinux (1682094) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327546)

Let me guess, you're typing this all while listening to Linkin Park, NIN or Rage Against the Machine, right? Thanks for making my point, though.

Re:whom the gods would destroy they first make mad (0, Offtopic)

czarangelus (805501) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327606)

Honestly, I wish I could express to you in words how happy it makes me to get responses like this. There is nothing more fulfilling in the world than the righteous indignation of the prick'd simian. I really, really want to thank you for your concern and interest. No joke - thank you.

As to my musical preferences, I think Immortal Technique, Dead Prez, Jedi Mind Tricks, Talib Kweli, and Sniper provide us with a more authentic and more literate example of the anti-conformist message.

Which is why the media companies are already dead. They pander to the least common denominator and that ultimately satisfies nobody. Bland, artificial vanilla, Diet Coke and upper middle class bourgoisie. As the financial crisis gets more entertaining, fewer and fewer people will be interested in the message.

Re:whom the gods would destroy they first make mad (1, Funny)

LOLLinux (1682094) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327642)

As to my musical preferences, I think Immortal Technique, Dead Prez, Jedi Mind Tricks, Talib Kweli, and Sniper provide us with a more authentic and more literate example of the anti-conformist message.

So your tastes are actually worse than I thought. Secondly, the more times you have to point out that you're non-conformist just goes to show how much of a tool you are.

Which is why the media companies are already dead. They pander to the least common denominator and that ultimately satisfies nobody.

And yet you still download their content from bittorrent. I'm sure that shows them good, right?!??! Right??!

Re:whom the gods would destroy they first make mad (1)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327644)

There is nothing more fulfilling in the world than the righteous indignation of the prick'd simian.

I prefer "bald tailless monkey".

Re:whom the gods would destroy they first make mad (1)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327892)

I prefer "bald tailless monkey".

That whole bald part certainly does not apply to me; I am covered in hair, as I suspect a large portion of my fellow nerds are.

Re:whom the gods would destroy they first make mad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30327880)

another example is insisting on a trial even when they know they're guilty.

Many times trials aren't about right vs. wrong or innocent vs. guilty but whether or not "they" can prove you did it.
If you're guilty by they can't prove it (OJ Simpson?) then going to trial makes sense.
Likewise, if one of your enemies is innocent but you can 'prove' they aren't: it makes sense to use courts to harm them.

Re:whom the gods would destroy they first make mad (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327336)

If it is so bad, you should call them ShitTorrents.

Re:whom the gods would destroy they first make mad (3, Funny)

pwnies (1034518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327368)

There's virtually nothing good on television anyway

It's ok dude, I'm sure they're gonna bring back Firefly. It's true cause I signed this one petition online and everything!

Re:whom the gods would destroy they first make mad (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327626)

I would have enjoyed that TV show a lot more if all the actors went topless

They are evil, not stupid (2, Insightful)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327434)

I could only hope this would end in disaster for both evil corporations.

Yet, I have serious doubts about that. When two legions that have sold their souls to the devil for money combine on a project that seems doomed from the start, I'm wary to dismiss it on the grounds that it defies common sense, and try to find out what they're looking at [wikipedia.org] .

Re:whom the gods would destroy they first make mad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30327442)

You must've missed the part about NBC Universal having several highly lucrative cable channels such as Bravo, USA, MSNBC, and perhaps most of interest to slashdotters, SyFy.

You're missing the big picture. (3, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327480)

Comcast is gunning for vertical integration. In order to optimize the benefits from its vertical integration, it has a very strong incentive to prioritize NBC sites and content over other sites and content.

I'm convinced that Comcast's package will include optimized delivery for NBC sites and content, only available to Comcast users. In and of itself not a bad deal, but there is very little difference to the end-user between optimizing delivery of your own stuff and throttling delivery of other people's stuff - except that one is dirt cheap to do, and the other is expensive. In a few years, I'm expecting Comcast to offer sites like it currently offers channels: with different pay tiers and different performance.

Nice troll sig, by the way. I'll reply with a quote from Sagan: " They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown."

Spoken Like a True Narrow-Minded Consumer (2, Insightful)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327482)

It's the dinosaurs who are the ones funding the production of the entertainments that you are, ummm, appropriating from the torrents. You'd better hope they stay flush somehow, or the only piece of new content left to pirate will be Joss Whedon's grocery list. Oh, wait, I know -- we'll just instruct all the professional producers and directors to put their work on their blogs and fund production on what we tip them in PayPal. Worked for This Guy [rcreader.com] , didn't it?

Re:Spoken Like a True Narrow-Minded Consumer (1)

czarangelus (805501) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327520)

I'm a grown man with a live-in girlfriend and a full time job. Media companies shouldn't underestimate my ability to find other things to do with my time.

Re:Spoken Like a True Narrow-Minded Consumer (0, Troll)

LOLLinux (1682094) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327610)

I'm a grown man with a live-in girlfriend and a full time job.

Translation: I have a fleshlight and my "job" is to make sure the house is swept and I clean the bathrooms every day before I can post on Slashdot otherwise I don't get my weekly allowance.

Re:Spoken Like a True Narrow-Minded Consumer (1)

czarangelus (805501) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327652)

Czarangelus Derangement Syndrome, or CDS, affects thousands of families every year. Symptoms include sweaty palms, elevated heartbeat, and increased douchebaggery. If you think you or someone you love is suffering from CDS, please get help. The life you save could be your own.

Re:Spoken Like a True Narrow-Minded Consumer (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327660)

Yeah, man! [theonion.com]

Re:whom the gods would destroy they first make mad (2)

qoncept (599709) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327506)

Dead? Wow. Apparently the 300 million people in the US that are going to turn their TVs on tonight are pretty oblivious, too. Who knew?

Re:whom the gods would destroy they first make mad (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327736)

Wow, 97% of the US population, infants and the homeless included, watch TV every night? Far out, man!

Re:whom the gods would destroy they first make mad (1)

LOLLinux (1682094) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327570)

BTW it's also amusing how much you disparage their content and yet you still download it from BitTorrent to watch it. Rage out, dude!!!

Re:whom the gods would destroy they first make mad (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327662)

The Office, 30 Rock, Better of Ted just to name a few. I just hope Comcast doesn't take them off Hulu.

Re:whom the gods would destroy they first make mad (1)

rnelsonee (98732) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327724)

The lack of money is exactly why I watch the networks, and while they're not going anywhere. While friends are spending $100/month to watch a compressed TV signal, I get uncompressed HDTV for free. Sure I miss the cable channels, but it's not like there's nothing on. NBC alone has Conan O'Brien, The Office, 30 Rock, Law and Order, and SNL.

People are realizing that the networks are the most affordable way to watch good TV and that's not going to change anytime soon.

Re:whom the gods would destroy they first make mad (1)

dunezone (899268) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327808)

...and anybody savvy just uses BitTorrent anyway.

I assume you're talking about using BitTorrent to download copyrighted material?

That free ride wont last forever.

There's virtually nothing good on television anyway

Southpark

Re:whom the gods would destroy they first make mad (1)

jeffshoaf (611794) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327926)

All mainstream media outlets are giant dinosaurs too stupid to realize they're already dead. There's virtually nothing good on television anyway; ad revenues are plummeting as consumers have no more money to spend, and anybody savvy just uses BitTorrent anyway.

So, where will the stuff on BitTorrent come from once the dinosaurs realize they're dead because the ad revenues are gone and stop producing content?

We have FAR too many large companies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30327318)

If this happens, then we need to disallow ANY monopolies that comcast has. That includes all their cable connections.

Otherwise, the feds sould say no. As it is, we have far too many large companies that 'can not fail'. Instead, we need more competition.

Re:We have FAR too many large companies (1)

hort_wort (1401963) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327452)

I agree that Comcast is too large at this point and should be hit with the monopoly hammer. I don't think it counts as "too big to fail" though -- society would not be ruined if people lost their cable tv like if they lost their homes or cars. In fact, losing certain shows might improve society considerably.

Re:We have FAR too many large companies (1)

tsotha (720379) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327598)

Comcast is too large? You realize the part they're buying was owned by Vivendi and GE, right, two of the biggest companies in the world?

Re:We have FAR too many large companies (1)

fulldecent (598482) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327750)

GE is just a finance company. Moving NBC from a finance company to a cable company might stir up the industry a bit, don't you think?

Re:We have FAR too many large companies (1)

hort_wort (1401963) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327960)

I'm mostly peeved because they bought up my local cable company. Since then, the service has been dropping out several times a day and my bill has doubled. Their techs came out to fix things twice, charging each time but not fixing the problem. They also called me a geek because I had Ubuntu running on my laptop, which was not compatible with their modem. It was compatible just fine before they took over though....

Re:We have FAR too many large companies (1)

bmearns (1691628) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327806)

Comcast isn't just TV, though: ISP is a big part of their business. I'm not sure how much coverage they provide exactly, but based on the fact that they can afford to buy controlling share of NBC, I'm guessing it's pretty serious. No, it wouldn't be as bas as loosing homes and cars, but can you imagine how contemporary business would suffer if, say, 1% of Internet Infrastructure suddenly shut down?

Re:We have FAR too many large companies (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30327900)

Comcast definitely isn't "too big to fail." Comcast fails just fine regardless of it's size.

Note to Jay Leno (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327338)

Dear Mr Leno,

Consequent to we being acquired by Comcast, our new CEO Heisa I Diot has directed you to remove all Cable Guy coming late, Cable companies forcing you to stay home all day for a 5 minute service jokes from your repertoire. Please remember the number of stattelite receptions breaking off at the most importunate moment will have a bearing when the annual bonuses are discussed. Have a nice day

Re:Note to Jay Leno (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327552)

I can't believe anyone would imply Jay Leno is an arrogant, overrated network whore whose pedestrian humor wasn't even funny 30 years ago, and who would climb over his mother's dead body for another overinflated paycheck with which to buy another hedonistic toy to add to his vast collection of self-indulgent excess. I just can't believe that.

Re:Note to Jay Leno (2, Interesting)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327954)

Say what you want about the quality of his work. But the mother's dead body etc are OTT. Ran into him in some high way rest stop. He was riding with a bunch of motor cyclists. Nicest celebrity one would have met. Very down to earth and posed for pictures for all, despite being without make-up and being out in the sun on a hot day with sweat and grime making him look older. Nice guy. He would not have climbed over his mother's dead body even for the original 1895 Daimler.

Re:Note to Jay Leno (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327784)

Dear Comcast,

I'm moving to ABC.

signed,
Mr.Leno

Bad News for TW customers (2, Informative)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327388)

As a Time Warner customer, I look forward to losing NBC again this Summer as Time Warner tries to convince me that the evil NBC wants to charge me more money for my tv, and how Time Warner is either forced to raise my rates, or drop NBC coverage. Lame, lame, lame. AT&T, please extend your service about 10 more miles south.

Re:Bad News for TW customers (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327816)

Was that NBC, or just your local station demanding more money?

Also can't you get the station for free with an antenna?

Well, there goes what's left of G4 (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327394)

"Attack of the Show," "X-play" and all the other last lingering remnants of the TechTV glory days are probably going to be replaced with old "Cheers" reruns. They've already started rerunning "Lost" and "Heroes" on G4. Pretty soon the G will stand for "generic."

Re:Well, there goes what's left of G4 (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327638)

Attack of the Show doesn't even deserve to have it's name put anywhere near the name TechTV. AotS is not The Screen Savers. X-Play is the only thing that survived the merger.

Bad news for viewers and Internet competition (1)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327430)

but good news for GE bond holders. Cash from Comcast should enable them to pay off some of their debts.

How can if fail? (1)

OglinTatas (710589) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327454)

When TW bought AoL, AoL had chatrooms which were already horribly out of date and irrelevant.
NBC has Leno. I don't see how this could fail

Re:How can if fail? (2, Informative)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327586)

Minor nitpick. AOL bought TW, then TW turned around a swallowed AOL. Big miscalculation on the part of Steve Case.

Slashdot: Yesterday's News... Today! (4, Insightful)

macwhizkid (864124) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327488)

Seriously, this was on the front page of every news outlet... almost two days ago. I know that there's a bit of a lag time to get things on Slashdot, but honestly, is it asking that much to post big stories the same day they happen?

Re:Slashdot: Yesterday's News... Today! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30327532)

What do you expect, we're too busy wargarbling over emailgate.

Re:Slashdot: Yesterday's News... Today! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30327990)

And when Slashdot did finally post it (I'm sure 50 different submitters submitted the story), they picked on with an incorrect title:

"Comcast to Buy 51% of NBC, GE Goes After 49%"

GE is not "going after" 49% of NBC--GE already owns NBC; it's just decided to sell 51% of something it currently owns 100%.

Ruinous for customers. (1)

fahrvergnugen (228539) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327516)

When are we as a country going to learn? We gave these shitheads municipal monopoly power, and now they want to radically expand their control. What we need is a law that states this: You can own the pipe, or you can deliver through the pipe, but you cannot do both.

Re:Ruinous for customers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30327698)

I wish someone (or hell I'll say it, the gubment) would just build a dumb IP network out to everywhere and everything would become a service. TV (per channel), phone, anything else.... I think a government owned network would have more privacy safeguards in place over a private network anyway.

GE goes AFTER 49%? (1)

aengblom (123492) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327522)

They were the majority owner previously. Way to be a day late AND wrong.

Terrible wording (3, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327542)

GE currently owns a majority stake in NBC Universal (they needed to negotiate with the other owner, Vivendi, before they could proceed with this deal). Under the deal, a new company is being formed, with GE contributing NBC Universal and Comcast contributing some of their content assets and a bunch cash (or cash like assets). Comcast ends up with 51% ownership of the new company, and GE 49%.

Comcast needs to be split up (4, Insightful)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327602)

into three separate companies:
  1. infrastructure, i.e., the wire and fibre on the poles
  2. ISP and phone services
  3. content provider

This will allow for competition for those people who are stuck with Comcast being the sole provider.

Did anyone consult Shinehart Wigs? (5, Funny)

Labcoat Samurai (1517479) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327604)

Wonder what effect this will have on plots in 30 Rock. Is Jack going to gun for CEO of Comcast now? That lacks the same punch.

Re:Did anyone consult Shinehart Wigs? (3, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327746)

Given that it is moderately entertaining, it will likely be canceled.

Excuse me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30327618)

Call me an idiot (and im sure people will :) but what the frak does a company like General Electric want with a company like NBC Universal in the first place ?

Re:Excuse me... (1)

sunking2 (521698) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327702)

Because that's what conglomerates do. They diversify. And there seems to be some confusion. GE already owned an 80% stake in NBC. In layman's terms they actually have to buy the remaining 20%, then sell 51% to Comcast.

Re:Excuse me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30327890)

Because that's what conglomerates do. They diversify

Because conglomerates diversify? Oh, well, I guess that's as good an explanation as any, I guess. Guess it's that it's just me then, like I never 'got' the MSNBC deal either. :(

Re:Excuse me... (1)

daivzhavue (176962) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327712)

They own it already? Well, a majority stake anyway.

Hulu (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30327676)

NBC Universal owns (a large part of) Hulu.

Hulu obviously competes with Comcast's cable TV offerings. They'd much rather you pay for a cable TV subscription than watch the same shows for free, legally, online.

Ever since the deal was announced, Comcast has made a few noises about not wanting to kill Hulu off, but excuse me if I don't quite believe them given their track record.

What happens to Hulu? (4, Insightful)

midicase (902333) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327774)

Doesn't NBC partly own Hulu? Isn't Comcast's Cable system in competition with Hulu?

Re:What happens to Hulu? (1)

13bPower (869223) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327826)

CEO said they "will ... crush it like a bug"

Does this make sense? (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327790)

Seems like America keeps making the same mistake over and over again. Don't allow a regulated monopoly to be a distributor and the content provider. Failure to follow this inevitably results in corruption and anti-competitive behavior. This applies to:

- Power production and power distribution
- Cellular network providers, cellular phone manufacturers, voice service providers
- Phone companies and voice providers
- Internet service providers and internet content providers
- Cable television delivery and cable content providers
- The Telegraph (recent Slashdot article on this)

The smoke has not yet cleared over Comcast illegally throttling connections. Why the heck would we consider allowing them to own a major content provider?

Double-Plus Un-Good (1)

WheezyJoe (1168567) | more than 4 years ago | (#30327800)

There's a really cool article [arstechnica.com] at ArsTechnica [arstechnica.com] describing what can happen when a monopoly controls the information pipeline from source to delivery... in this case, the pipeline was the telegraph network [wikipedia.org] , aka the Victorian Internet [wikipedia.org] .

"Western Union secretly siphoned to AP's [Associated Press] general agent Henry Nash Smith the telegraph correspondence of key Democrats during the struggle. Smith, in turn, relayed this intelligence to the Hayes camp with instructions on how to proceed. On top of that, AP constantly published propaganda supporting the Republican side of the story. Meanwhile, Western Union insisted that it kept "all messages whatsoever . . . strictly private and confidential." Tilden supporters weren't fooled. By the end of the debacle -- [Rutherford] Hayes having won the White House -- they called AP "Hayessociated Press."

Anyway, I would feel better if beleaguered NBC was being bought by a company a little less awful. A typical Comcast "service" center looks like the visitor's lounge at a prison, bullet-proof glass and everything. This is the company that will have editorial control over NBC, MSNBC, and CNBC.

Monopoly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30327894)

My local government has said that if I get cable television or internet, it must be Comcast. Meanwhile the Federal government is going to investigate to see if Comcast has "undue advantages." Um...yes, but not in the way you're going to spend 9 months and thousands upon thousands of tax-payer dollars you're investigating.

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