At the NBC Universal-Comcast Capitol Hill hearings today, company CEOs won’t give a “yes” or “no” answer about whether the merger will raise cable prices for consumers.
Comcast CEO Brian Roberts responded during the question-and-answer session that Comcast is still 80% a cable company and 20% a content company. “So our eye is still very much in that perspective,” he said. Although he doesn’t have “the perfect answer” to solve television’s future issued.
NBC Universal president Jeff Zucker said the merger will not “fundamentally change” competition. Program access rules haven’t applied to NBCU before, but now that they are part of a distribution company, “We will be subject to those rules, so I actually there is greater benefit as a result of that,” he said.
The FCC would have to regulate whether the merged company maintains fair prices for consumers and competitors.
Critics of the merger said Comcast might negotiate cheaper prices to carry NBC’s cable channels, and jack up prices for competitors.
Higher fees for cable companies would mean higher prices for cable subscribers.
They might also be able to bundle free NBC broadcast content into packages that only cable subscribers can access, critics said earlier in the hearing.
Both companies responded that they would abide by government rules.
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