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Summary:

In a regulatory filing sent to the FCC today, Comcast (c CMCSA) and NBC said they don’t see online video distributors as a competitive threat, discounting the possibility of a an online video distributor emerging and competing with Comcast’s cable operations, as well as any consumer […]

In a regulatory filing sent to the FCC today, Comcast (c CMCSA) and NBC said they don’t see online video distributors as a competitive threat, discounting the possibility of a an online video distributor emerging and competing with Comcast’s cable operations, as well as any consumer interest in adopting online video services in lieu of paying for a cable subscription.

As laid out in the filing, the companies argued that conditions shouldn’t be imposed on the transaction based on the possibility that online video distributors could one day compete directly with Comcast’s cable business, calling such a possibility “entirely speculative.” That’s because, they say, no online video distributor can offer the breadth of content that a cable company can, nor have any true, online-only multichannel video offerings emerged.

Comcast and NBC also downplayed consumer interest in adopting online services, poo-pooing consumer cord-cutting and calling online video viewing complementary to its core cable business. “Currently, online video does not compete with Comcast’s MVPD business. The video content that online distributors now provide is far more limited than the video content that Comcast Cable and other MVPDs provide to their subscribers. As a result, few consumers consider online video as a close substitute for MVPD service, and would therefore consider ‘cutting the cord,'” they wrote in the filing.

All that said, the companies downplayed their ability to uniquely compete against an online-only video service if one were to emerge, claiming extreme fragmentation in the online video market, and saying that their combined Internet properties were too small to be much of a force in an online video. Noting that NBC online properties accounted for 1.8 percent of all professionally produced online video view, with Comcast properties making up less than 1 percent. Even if the companies included all views from Hulu, in which NBC has a minority stake, Comcast and NBC said they would only account for 5 percent of all online video views — not enough to pose a competitive threat.

Consumer watchdog group Public Knowledge said Comcast and NBC were understating the threat the combined entity posed to competition in online video. “We are incredulous [Ed. note: good word] that Comcast and NBCU would downplay Internet distribution of video at a time when the FCC has repeatedly identified online video as one of the primary drivers to broadband adoption,” Harold Feld, legal director of Public Knowledge, said in a statement.

  1. Quote from the article: “Currently, online video does not compete with Comcast’s MVPD business. The video content that online distributors now provide is far more limited than the video content that Comcast Cable and other MVPDs provide to their subscribers. As a result, few consumers consider online video as a close substitute for MVPD service, and would therefore consider ‘cutting the cord,’” they wrote in the filing.

    Too bad they’re not paying attention. I just cut the cord today, turning my cable box and remote into Cablevision’s Piscataway office. Why? The price they charge is far too high relative to the amount of programming I watch. Why should I pay $77/month for access to 4 channels, when 3 of them have their content readily available in some form online and the 4th is wonderful about putting it’s shows out on DVD in a timely manner? As I said in a post to my class which is discussion media economics, people like me are traditional media’s nightmare. And there are plenty of us out there. Cable may be able to downplay all this and survive for now, but what will happen in 5-10 years when today’s tech savvy teenagers are starting up their own households? My guess is that we’ll see a vast reduction in the number of cable subscribers as a generation used to getting their video content online rejects the high fees cable providers charge.

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  3. [...] Today found this great post read thi quick excerpt : In a regulatory filing sent to the FCC today, Comcast (c CMCSA) and NBC (s GE) said they don’t see … Read the rest of this great post Here [...]

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  4. [...] Today found this great, post read this quick excerpt : In a regulatory filing sent to the FCC today, Comcast (c CMCSA) and NBC (s GE) said they don’t see … Read the rest of this great post Here [...]

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  5. I tried to watch some of NBC’s Olympic coverage online and the site demanded information from my cable subscription. If I had cable with multiple channels, then why would I go online for coverage? I use an antenna and do not have a subscription for cable. I guess that they want you to pay twice, once for your internet service and a second for your cable subscription. Needless to say that I did not see the Olympic event.

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