What the Boys & Girls Club thinks of the Comcast-NBCU merger

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What the Boys & Girls Club thinks of the Comcast-NBCU merger

Wed Jun 23, 2010 @ 11:00AM PST

By Eriq Gardner

More than 10,000 individuals, groups, and companies have taken the opportunity to tell the FCC what they think about Comcast's proposed acquisition of NBC Universal. The comment period was one of the more active ones in the agency's history, attracting the opinions of everyone from the NFL to the Life Center Church of God in Christ.

Here's a sampling of some of the comments...

Senator Al Franken:

I write to express serious and fundamental reservations about Comcast Corporation's proposed acquisition of NBC Universal (NBCU). Approval of this deal as it currently stands poses a grave threat to the public interest, threatening to set off a dangerous trend of further media consolidation, create even higher prices for consumers, and risk job loss in an already fragile economy. Simply stated, the effects of this deal will undermine the Commission's goals of competition, diversity, and localism.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake:

Comcast is an essential source of employment in the Greater Baltimore area, supporting jobs for over 1,800 workers and providing a significant boost to the local economy through its work with local suppliers, many of which are small businesses and minority-owned firms. Across the country, Comcast has expanded its facilities despite the economic downturn, invested robustly in infrastructure, and remained committed to the health care and retirement needs of its workers. The company is committed to diversity in its recruiting, hiring and promotion practices. I believe these are just a few of the reasons why Comcast is regularly ranked as one of the top U.S. employers.

Public Knowledge:

Preventing the newly merged entity from abusing its position as a conduit will require vigilant enforcement of at least two conditions. First, the Commission must impose strict non-discrimination rules that prevent the entity from interfering with the distribution of non-affiliated content through filtering, blocking, or degrading distribution...Second, the Commission must recognize that temptation for anticompetitive behavior flows largely from Comcast’s control of last mile networks.

The National Football League:

The NFL is also an independent cable network operator through its NFL Network. It has been frustrated by its limited success in making fair carriage arrangements for the very popular programming offered by NFL Network with vertically integrated MSOs which also own or hold an interest in competing cable networks. Though it has had disputes with Comcast in the past over carriage issues relating to the NFL Network, and both sides made use of available legal and regulatory procedures, these disputes were successfully resolved by the parties last year... Indeed, this merger makes prompt action on industry-wide reform of program carriage rules all the more important.

The Salesian Boys & Girls Clubs of Los Angeles:

Overall, because of the support, leadership and commitment to the community provided by NBC/UNIVERSAL/ TELEMUNDO this venture would be very beneficial for the Spanish speaking community, our families and the Hispanic /Latino viewers. More investment in content, better distribution and enhanced marketing platforms can only help strengthen Hispanic / Latino community and their businesses. This will help secure and generate more professional jobs for hundreds of Hispanics/ Latinos and provide our community with high quality, relevant original content and more importantly resources to our distressed community.

Free Press:

The consequences of unchecked media consolidation are clear. As big media get bigger, we end up with fewer jobs in our newsrooms, more sensationalism and celebrity gossip instead of real news, and media that are out of touch with what our communities need.

Americans for Tax Reform:

What is lacking in the Commission’s focus is the interest of the millions of investors who hold stocks in these companies. These shareholders have risked their capital to earn dividends and save for retirement or otherwise. Shareholders likely stand to gain should the merger be approved and this positive outcome should be factored into the Commission’s decision.

Writers Guild of America:

The WGA has represented television and movie writers for more than 50 years and over that time, has witnessed the consolidation of the media industry into the hands of a few conglomerates. This consolidation has led to a decline in creative and economic opportunities for WGAW members, and has reduced the dissemination of diverse and independent viewpoints in the media, all to the detriment of consumers. If approved, the Comcast – NBCU entity will cause a further concentration of content sources. 

All the comments can be found here.

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to [email protected]

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