Comcast-NBCU Opponents Form Coalition Group

By Alex Weprin 

Organizations and companies that oppose the proposed merger between Comcast and NBC Universal have formed a new group: The Coalition for Competition in Media.

Bloomberg, the Writers Guild of America East and West, Free Press, the Parents Television Council and 16 other groups are behind the new organization.

The coalition took out ads in the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times this morning, timed to a field hearing on the merger, which is being held there today. The organization has also started a Twitter feed @4FairMedia.

Each of the companies and interest groups opposes the merger for different reasons. Bloomberg is concerned about Comcast assuming ownership of its rival CNBC, and possibly favoring it when it comes to channel placement. The WGAW and WGAE are concerned about one company controlling so much of the content being produced.

The companies laid out why they, as a group, oppose it in a FAQ:

That means if you are a local business that wants to advertise, you have to do business with Comcast and pay the prices Comcast demands. If you are a cable customer, you either pay Comcast’s prices or risk losing content that Comcast could make exclusive. If you surf the internet, you could find that if you’re not subscribed to a particular Comcast package, content could be blocked or only be accessible with additional fees. And that’s not to mention the fact that independent programmers and competitor video providers would struggle to compete with such a powerful market force, meaning less choice for everyone.

It’s far too much power for one cable company. Given the serious threat Comcast’s plans pose to consumers and fair competition in the media market, the FCC and Justice Department must act to use their authority to protect the public interest.

The ad the group took out is embedded after the jump.

Coalition Ad