July 8, 2010 - New Coalition Opposes Comcast Acquisition of NBC-Universal, As Proposed

The Coalition for Competition in Media launches with a targeted campaign to raise awareness of the threats posed to consumers, workers, and the status of media in America.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA) joined more than 20 public interest groups and private organizations to launch the Coalition for Competition in Media (CCM) to oppose Comcast’s acquisition of NBC-Universal, as proposed, because of the serious threats it poses to consumers, workers and the health of the media market.

The Coalition is urging the FCC and Justice Department to consider the far-reaching implications this merger will have on competition and consumer choice, and is asking those agencies to use their authority to protect the public interest.

Today, as the House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet holds a field hearing in Chicago on the impact of the deal, the Coalition for Competition in Media placed an ad in both the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times identifying the extensive media properties that Comcast would own or have an ownership stake in post-acquisition, nationally and in 11 local markets including Chicago. The ad reads: “As proposed, the acquisition would allow Comcast to dominate the Chicago media market. That could mean higher prices for Chicagoland consumers, higher ad rates for local businesses and less choice for TV viewers and internet users everywhere.”

The Coalition is also releasing a letter to Rep. Bobby Rush, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection, and Rep. Rick Boucher, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet, urging them to ask tough questions at the field hearing in Chicago about the deal’s negative impacts on consumers, workers and fair competition in the media market.

“As the nation’s largest cable company, the largest internet service provider, the owner of the NBC broadcast network, owner of the local NBC and Telemundo stations in some of the nation’s largest media markets, owner of dozens of national, regional and local news, entertainment and sports cable networks, and owner or part-owner of some of the most heavily visited websites on the internet, the merged entity will exert a degree of power unknown in our nation’s media history,” the Coalition wrote in its letter to Rush and Boucher.

“That degree of concentrated power is fundamentally threatening to the public interest. Before allowing such a sea-change to take place, these impacts must be fully studied and understood – and the threats must be mitigated through energetic applications of the government’s regulatory authority,” the Coalition wrote in the letter.

The Coalition is also launching CompetitionInMedia.org, a website where consumers and policymakers can learn more about how the proposed deal will harm consumers, workers and the health of the media industry.

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About the Coalition for Competition in Media:
The Coalition for Competition in Media represents public interest groups, workers in the industry, independent programmers and distributors, small and minority media interests, and private telecommunications firms.   Members include Bloomberg; Common Cause; Concerned Women for America; Free Press; Greenlining; Mabuhay Alliance; Media Access Project; National Association of Independent Networks; National Consumers League; National Coalition of African American Owned Media (NCAAOM); National Organization for Women; National Telecommunications Cooperative Association; New Media Rights; Organization for the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telecommunications Companies (OPASTCO); Parents Television Council; Rural Independent Competitive Alliance; Sports Fans Coalition; WealthTV; Western Telecommunications Alliance; Writers Guild of America, East; and Writers Guild of America, West.

For more information, please contact Ben Hammer at bhammer@gpgdc.com or 202-295-0143.