On December 23, 201, the attached comments were submitted to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in its proceeding “Applications of Comcast Corporation and Time Warner Cable Inc. for Consent to Assign or Transfer Control of Licenses and Applications” (MB Docket No. 14-57).
As we pointed out in our initial joint filing, the merger will negatively impact creators across markets—from multichannel programming distribution (MVPD) to online video distribution (OVD) to Internet service providers (ISPs). Comcast’s existing onwership of a major motion picture and television studio (NBC-Universal), combined with its dominance in cable television and internet service, put it in a position to leverage its size and influence to discriminate against unafilliated programming, harm competition and reduce payments to smaller programmers and content creators.
The comments dismantle several of Comcast’s arguments for the acquisition of Time Warner Cable, including a flawed economic rationale used to tout vague and unconvincing benefits. The filing also suggests that DSL Internet service should not be counted as part of the current broadband marketplace, due to speed and other limitations that render it non-comparable to cable and fiber offerings. An examination of the actual marketplace for broadband reveals already troubling levels of concentration, which will be exacerbated by a Comcast-TWC merger. For this and many other reasons made plain in our filing, the merger is not in the public interest, no conditions will satisfy this interest, and the FCC must block the deal.
You may already know that FMC is against the proposed merger between massive Internet/cable provider/NBC-Universal owner Comcast and the slightly less massive Time Warner Cable. Back in August of 2014, FMC and Writers Guild of America West (WGAW)—the folks who write the movies and TV shows you know and love—filed a “joint petition to deny” with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), urging them to block the deal.
Well, the list of folks against the merger just got bigger. Today, saw the launch of the Stop Mega Comcast Coalition, which includes FMC and WGAW, along with a diverse array of other groups who don’t want to see Comcast become even more powerful.
On September 15, 2014, Future of Music Coalition submitted the following reply comments in the FCC’s public docket on Promoting and Protecting the Open Internet. Our comments are in direct response to those filed by telecommunications and cable companies in the initial phase of this proceeding.
While last week’s internet slowdown protest brought Net Neutrality to the headlines, resulting in the most comments to the FCC on any topic ever, this week is going to be equally busy and important for defenders of the open internet. For those who need a refresher, net neutrality is the principle that all legitimate web traffic should be treated equally by internet service providers; it’s fundamental to how the internet can function as a democratic platform where all voices can be heard, and especially important for independent musicians and labels. Read on for the full details!
WASHINGTONDC— The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) and the Future of Music Coalition (FMC) submitted formal opposition today to the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger, petitioning the Federal Communications Commission to deny the transaction. In 2010, both WGAW and FMC raised concerns about the vertical integration between Comcast and NBC Universal. Both organizations urged the FCC to adopt strong conditions to protect content creators, consumers and competition. But, in the three years following the merger, Comcast has used its market power to harm content competitors on both traditional and online content platforms.
The proposed acquisition of TWC, even with nominal divestitures to Charter and Spinco, will magnify the harms that have occurred in the last three years and will hinder the development of a diverse and competitive media market. The Guild and the Coalition assert that because the deal would grant an unprecedented amount of power to a single entity, harm consumers and create a serious threat to competition in the video and broadband marketplaces, it does not meet the FCC’s criteria for serving the public interest.
Creators gotta stick together. That’s why Future of Music Coalition is proud to join Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) in urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to block the proposed merger between cable and internet behemoth Comcast and the slightly smaller behemoth Time Warner Cable (TWC).
We probably don’t have to tell you that both companies routinely win the top (dis)honor for worst customer service. What might be new information is how much control Comcast already has over what you see and hear. If the company is permitted to acquire TWC, they’ll possess unparalleled power over the future for music and video.
Our joint petition to deny the merger, filed before the FCC on August 25, 2014, makes the case that a combined company would reduce opportunities for creators of all kinds—including the folks that write for television and movies, as well as musicians and composers.
On August 25, 2014, Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) and Future of Music Coalition (FMC) submitted formal opposition to the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger, petitioning the Federal Communications Commission to deny the transaction. In 2010, both WGAW and FMC raised concerns about the vertical integration between Comcast and NBC Universal. Both organizations urged the FCC to adopt strong conditions to protect content creators, consumers and competition. But, in the three years following the merger, Comcast has used its market power to harm content competitors on both traditional and online content platforms.
The proposed deal between Comcast and Time Warner Cable is the latest in a wave of major media mergersdrawing public concern and scrutiny from the feds. Deals like AT&T’s reported acquisition of Direct TV for $50 billion and Facebook’s purchase of WhatsApp for $19 billion, along with last year’sMaker Studios buyout by Disney—also near the billion dollar mark—are part of a larger trend of corporate consolidation. The Comcast Time Warner deal itself could be upwards of $45 billion, but is not the biggest deal Time Warner has been a part of. The Time Warner/AOL Online deal in 2000 was the largest merger by value ever announced, coming in at over $186 billion.
Beyond the staggering dollar figures are very real antitrust and public policy concerns. Let’s look at what it means for creators and fans when just a few companies control so much of the media, technology and entertainment universe.
by Griffin Davis, Communications Intern & Kevin Erickson, Communications Associate
In the wake of the FCC’s vote last Thursday to bring forward a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology convened yesterday to question FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler on recent FCC activities, with an emphasis on the ongoing debate over net neutrality. read more
High costs, crappy customer service and speeds well below what’s advertised. How much do you love your Internet Service Provider (ISP)? If you have Comcast or Time Warner Cable, chances are not a lot. These two cable behemoths consistently come in at the top of “worst companies ever” lists, and we’re sure plenty of musicians can count themselves among the frustrated. Now these two companies wanna get married. But will the government allow it?
That’s something that Washington, DC is grappling with as we speak. On one side of the debate you’ve got well-heeled corporate lobbyists working on behalf of ISPs keen to make more money from controlling even more of the broadband marketplace. On the other, you’ve got regular Internet users, consumer groups and creative entrepreneurs who are tired of being promised one thing and paying out the nose for another.