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Comcast Sweetens the NBCU Pot With $20M Fund for Minorities

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Comcast (s CMCSA) announced yesterday that it will commit $20 million in new funds for minority entrepreneurs as part of its pledge to promote diversity after the close of its proposed joint venture with NBC Universal. The new venture fund will be established as part of Comcast Interactive Capital, the company’s venture arm, and would back minority entrepreneurs developing new media content and technology.

The cable company is trying to ease concerns about a lack of diversity in its programming and its workforce after the close of its proposed joint venture with NBCU. As a result, Comcast laid out a number of proposals designed to promote minority programming and employment opportunities as part of the joint venture.

In addition to the venture fund, Comcast promised to add 10 new independently owned and operated networks to its cable service in the first eight years after the deal closed, up from a previous commitment of six new channels in its original public-interest statement. Of those 10 new networks, Comcast said that at least four would be majority-owned by African Americans, and two of those stations would come online in the first two years after the joint venture was completed.

The announcement comes a week after Comcast announced a deal with Hispanic groups in which it promised to add a Latino member to its board of directors in the first two years after a deal is completed. It also said it would add four independent networks with substantial Latino ownership to its cable lineup.

The commitments came during a hearing called by the House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet on Comcast’s proposed joint venture that was focused specifically on how the transaction would affect minorities, in particular African Americans. It was the latest in a series of six Congressional Hearings that Comcast and NBCU have faced since announcing the deal. Next week, Comcast and NBCU are participating in a two-panel forum to discuss the effect the joint venture will have on online video distribution and multichannel programming.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user echoforsberg.

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9 Responses to “Comcast Sweetens the NBCU Pot With $20M Fund for Minorities”

  1. thank you comcast for realizing there is still a huge disparity and lack of opportunities now even more than ever for African Americans and other minority groups. Glad you didnt give into the pressure of angry white men who want everything to themselves.

    • Oh yes. Because us white guys only help each other. It is part of a secret pact to keep all minorities in their place. And be sure to wear your tinfoil hats because we can also read your minds if you don’t.

      It is also a lot easier to blame your lack of success on oppression by others rather than your lack of ability and/or effort. Even when there is no oppression being done. But if you believe you’re being secretly oppressed, you can justify preferential treatment in your mind. And if someone says your project that got the preferential treatment is garbage, obviously they’re not right but are just racists.

      The truth is that unless you have a relative or friend on the inside, it is ALWAYS hard to get a start. But if you get preferential treatment because of your race (sex, religion, whatever) and not ability and effort, it isn’t correcting some wrong. It is only promoting an inferior product that will reinforce stereotypes. And each preferential treatment of you makes those that don’t receive preferential treatment have to be that much better to get a start … which makes the product of theirs that does get made that much better and the gap between yours and their becomes even greater.

      But don’t listen to me. I’m just an angry white man who has gold tossed at his feet whenever he enters a bank, has all doors opened for him with a smile, and doesn’t have to even try to be a success to be a success.

      • Perspective

        It would be wonderful if people were judged on their hard work and ability, but that’s not the world we live in. Your strongest point “unless you have a relative or friend on the inside, it is ALWAYS hard to get a start” is also the one that tears down your argument. When you look at major businesses and markets there aren’t many minorities calling the shots so without someone taking an interest in them how are they to grow? Does image and look of a company play a part in that, of course it does. Companies talk about diversity but don’t practice it. Understanding someone’s culture is a challenge when you have so called business standard.

  2. Comcast has plenty of work cut out for itself if it wishes to prove it is more than a substandard company defined by its awful customer support. If it cannot handle the scope of its current operation, it seems obvious that it will not be able to handle Comcast + NBC. Right?

  3. Comcast has plenty of work cut out for itself if it wishes to prove it is more than a substandard company defined by its awful customer support. Perhaps before the FCC lets the merger move forward adding to Comcast’s customer base, they should mandate that Comcast reconcile with its current customer base. If it cannot handle the scope of its current operation, it seems obvious that it will not be able to handle Comcast + NBC.

  4. I wonder when instead of racism, businesses can just be color-blind to meet the demands of our masters (a.k.a. government). What this blog talks about is the diminishing and degrading any actual accomplishment that minorities make. Promoting anything simply because there is a minority behind it ends up promoting garbage that would never have received funding otherwise. This promotion of poor effort merely reinforces the perception that minorities aren’t good enough to compete on their own. Remove the preferential treatment and these minorities fail. This develops an ugly cycle of dependency. That and resentment by whites who have to compete for funding without preferential treatment. Oh, and because whites don’t get preferential treatment, they have to actually be better than all the rest (including all other whites) and that makes white projects that do get made better as a result and thus the comparison between their projects and minority projects becomes even more stark.

    Remove preferential treatment and the minorities that do successfully get funding for their projects will produce projects that are just as good as projects made by whites. In fact, remove preferential treatment and this is guaranteed to happen since minorities will have to strive harder for funding (just like whites) and not just strive enough to get the preferential treatment. If you only require someone to run a mile to win a prize and not 26 miles as well as dramatically reduce who they’re running against, what incentive is there for such a privileged person to run anything but a mile? You can say you’re helping that “disadvantaged” runner but are you really? When is that mile runner going to compete against the marathon runners? As long as you keep making what that runner has to run be less than what all the other runners have to run, the answer is never. This is what is wrong with government meddling in the affairs of the private sector. Their good intentions commonly hurt the people they’re trying to help.

    And, sorry, the answer isn’t better training of minorities. If a minority couldn’t get into a school on their own merit, letting them into the school simply because they’re a minority doesn’t magically make their abilities better. Instead, you have just promoted someone who will perform worse than the whites and both the whites and minorities know this. The cycle of inadequacy, inferior ability, and dependency simply starts earlier.

    The best thing that can be done is having everyone play on a level playing field and let survival of the fittest determine who succeeds and who fails. It is crueler and more cold-hearted but better for minorities in the long haul.