Comcast Captures NBC Universal

It's official: Comcast is buying NBC Universal. And already predictions are surfacing as to how this will change the media landscape in online video and other areas.

The cable giant is paying $6.5 billion in cash and $7.25 billion in programming for a 51 percent stake, leaving General Electric as a minority stakeholder. Vivendi will get $2 billion for its 38 percent stake.

"Anti-competitive behavior" is one outcome forecast by consumer groups such as Public Knowledge. They say combining a major movie studio, major TV network, many cable channels, and--last but certainly not least--the nation's biggest cable operator will require "extraordinary steps" to contain.

Comcast and other cable companies have been experimenting with online access to cable programs for ISP customers. These operations could arguably get programming exclusives at the expense of other ISPs and their customers.

Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) is already rattling his congressional saber: "This proposed deal raises significant questions about consumer choice and competition, innovation and investment in the media marketplace that merit close scrutiny by Congress, the FCC and the Justice Department," he said.

The FCC said it would "carefully examine the proposed merger and will be thorough, fair and fact-based in its review."

See Wired.

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