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Comcast Buys Out GE's Remaining 49% Stake In NBC 149

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the no-conflict-of-interest-here dept.
Bob the Super Hamste writes "On Tuesday Comcast announced that it would accelerate its acquisition of NBCUniversal and purchase the remaining 49% owned by GE for $16.7 billion. Previously GE and Comcast were expected to operate NBCUniversal jointly until mid 2014 with Comcast having the option to extend that out until 2018. So far there are not details on when the deal with be completed but the article indicates that Comcast's complete acquisition of NBCUniversal will be completed years earlier that initially thought."
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Comcast Buys Out GE's Remaining 49% Stake In NBC

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  • 30 Rock (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @12:03PM (#42884251)

    Kabletown

  • by fustakrakich (1673220) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @12:03PM (#42884257) Journal

    These people will become the 'federal government' of the internet.

    • One wonders when or if we'll reach a tipping point where voters realize that overgrown corporations and overgrown governments both can threaten their rights. Especially when they intertwine. Maybe voters will at that point start actually taking back control of regulatory agencies. Crazier things have happened, and revolutions often happen when no one is expecting them.
      • by ByOhTek (1181381)

        I think we may generally be past that point, however the government and corporations have gotten so intertwined with their political game of twister-fellato, that the public will have a lot of trouble overcoming them merely by voting in a system where they are convinced that a vote other than for a primary party, is a wasted vote.

        • Of course, voting for a non-primary party will in fact be a wasted vote until such time as that party garners enough votes to challenge the primary parties, at which point we'll have three primary parties which are all just as bad as one another, instead of the two we have now which are just as bad as one another.

          • by ByOhTek (1181381)

            except it cannot get enough votes to challenge the primary parties, unless people start voting for it first.

            And, with more primary parties, the 'entry point' to becoming a primary party becomes lower. Hopefully, sooner or later the tide will turn and we can get more than 2 primaries, and have some faster cycling of parties.

            catch-22

          • Of course, voting for a non-primary party will in fact be a wasted vote until such time as that party garners enough votes to challenge the primary parties, at which point we'll have three primary parties which are all just as bad as one another

            No, we'll have two, just a different two: our electoral system structurally makes it so that a new party being competitive means (and usually follows rather than leads) an existing major party ceasing to be competitive.

        • I strongly disagree. The two party system isn't the cause. It's the cost of campaigning and apathy on the part of the voters that keep corporations winning. Corporations can buy off any number of parties, like they do in plenty of other countries with more than two parties. Voters could easily vote for candidates who would get tough on white collar crime in both parties. They don't simply because they don't care and they get flooded with commercials for pro-corporate candidates.
      • by Luckyo (1726890)

        That is why corporations are focusing and concentrating mass media first and foremost. Propaganda is the power of control of the masses. As long as critical mass isn't reached, no one important cares about fringe thinkers understanding the reality. Propaganda will just discredit the thinkers, hide the atrocities committed to them and tell everyone that they have the best place to live in the world.

        So to answer your question: most likely never unless some major catastrophe happens that will massively upset t

      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        What do you mean "when"? Most people ALREADY know this, its the simple fact that thanks to "money equals speech" there isn't a damned thing they can do about it short of full on violent revolution. How many protested the wars? How many wated their time with occupy? didn't change shit did it? hell we get years worth of documents about the governments of the world doing dirty deeds and since the MSM is in bed with the gov it is focused not on the corruption, but whether Assange is an asshole.

        Everything you se

        • You're engaging in defeatist hyperbole, possibly as an excuse not to care about politics. Or maybe you're trying to look for someone besides voters to blame.

          Consider how few people bother voting in primaries. Or even the general election. When so few people express an opinion in a meaningful way, it's pretty easy for one interested party to dominate. If 51% of the country voted against telecom interests, it would take an armed coup on the part of the telecoms to stop it.

          It's okay, good even, to
          • by hairyfeet (841228)

            One sentence "Jon Stewart Ron Paul" go and look it up. There in video taken straight from the networks you will see with your own eyes the MSM influencing the direction of the primaries by making Paul "he who shall NOT be named" and they even go so far as to name the first, second, and FOURTH place finishers, making sure the name Ron Paul is NEVER spoken in the places having a primary. Since the majority get their "news" from the MSM this makes it easy to rig.

            And while i never supported Ron Paul or Alex Jon

    • by Jawnn (445279)

      These people will become the 'federal government' of the internet.

      Don't be daft. There's already no difference between a company of that size and "the government".

  • by MetalliQaZ (539913) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @12:03PM (#42884261)

    I've been dealing with and reading about Comcast for a long time. This scares me. Already the country has forgotten about the obvious and egregious conflict of interest at the FCC [latimes.com]. Face-palm. Comcast now has unprecedented access to the mind-share of the American public, from pre-production to eyeballs.

    Comcast along with other companies like Disney, ClearChannel, etc. are not to be trusted. Be wary, my friends.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      This is absolutely not unprecidented. Ask your parents. This is an attempt to return to the "golden days" of broadcast monopolies/oligarchies.

    • by balsy2001 (941953)
      It is also sad that they have a monopoly over most of their customer base. They will slowly find ways to eliminate the alternatives that are available on-line to paid cable TV. They will throttle connections, impose more severe data caps etc. and then invent some BS reason for it all so that they aren't hit with an anti-trust law suit.
      • by crazyjj (2598719) *

        then invent some BS reason for it

        My bet is that they'll throw the "security" card, as in "The reason we have to restrict our users to our walled garden is to protect against malware and cyberwarfare."

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Comcast along with other companies like Disney, ClearChannel, etc. are not to be trusted. Be wary, my friends.

      Nonsense! Comcast is my broadband provider and they've never once stopped me from criticizing them. For example, I've been critical of them in the past for%%NO CARRIER

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Add Time Warner, a subsidiary of Turner broadcasting (CNN, etc) to the list as well.

  • Say goodbye to certain channels on other networks in a few years...

    • Re:goodbye channels (Score:5, Informative)

      by crazyjj (2598719) * on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @12:07PM (#42884315)

      Comcast already killed off what little was left of TechTV on G4. Now it's going to be the "Esquire Channel" is some shit like that. All the good tech shows are online-only now.

      • by necro81 (917438)

        All the good tech shows are online-only now

        True, perhaps, but is that a problem? For instance, I've been very impressed with the programming from Revision3 [revision3.com] - an online-only "TV" studio whose lineup is heavily aligned with the /. crowd. They even have their own "channel" on Roku devices.

    • Xfinity TV isn't available in all markets. Does Comcast really want NBCU channels to have 0 ratings in cities served by a different cable TV provider or in rural areas not served by any cable TV provider?
  • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @12:05PM (#42884295)

    Pretty soon a handful of companies will own every old media outlet out there. Well, at least we still have the internet.

    My ISP? Oh, it's Comcas.....oh shit.

    • by Synerg1y (2169962)

      And I really really hope I get to see them collapse under their own weight & finally get some decent service from the multitude of new comers that step in to take their place.

      • by bjwest (14070)

        Kind of like when AT&T collapsed under it's own weight in the 70's? Wait, our government stepped in and fixed that. Too bad our government is owned by the mega corporations now. I doubt we'll see anything like that again.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Too bad our government is owned by the mega corporations now.
           
          You can't buy what isn't for sale. When are people going to face the fact that the government's elite are taking in just as much as the corporations and finally set it straight?

          • Too bad our government is owned by the mega corporations now.

            You can't buy what isn't for sale. When are people going to face the fact that the government's elite are taking in just as much as the corporations and finally set it straight?

            Well, see, I punched the button on the voting machine for "no corruption" and it read back THANK YOU FOR VOTING FOR CORRUPTION HAVE A NICE DAY.

    • by c (8461)

      Pretty soon a handful of companies will own every old media outlet out there.

      Just think of how much more efficient if will be when you only need to direct your rage and hatred at a handful of companies.

      • by crazyjj (2598719) *

        Just think of how much more efficient if will be when you only need to direct your rage and hatred at a handful of companies.

        Hell, I already do that now with MS, Sony, and Apple.

      • Just think of how much more efficient if will be when you only need to direct your rage and hatred at a handful of companies.

        Central Services?
    • by Guppy (12314)

      My ISP? Oh, it's Comcas.....oh shit.

      For a while now, the mega-Providers have been threatening internet-based companies (like Google), seeing them as freeloaders making money off "their" pipes (never mind that as subscribers, we pay ISPs a monthly fee for them to get to Google's stuff, not their own crappy content portals). Being able to hold the last mile hostage -- that's the driver behind the lobbying campaigns against net-neutrality.

      It's also the driver behind Google Fiber. Google doesn't have to actually build it out everywhere to be ef

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Controlling the content creation, performances and delivery of the content is very profitable.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @12:07PM (#42884313)

    Jack:The only thing I will be discussing with the House Subcommittee on Baseball, Quiz Shows, Terrorism, and Media is vertical integration.
      Liz:What's vertical integration?
      Jack:Imagine that your favourite corn chip manufacturer also owned the number one diarrhea medication.
        Liz: That'd be great cuz then they could put a little sample of the medication in each bag.
      Jack:Keep thinking.
      Liz:Except then they might be tempted to make the corn chips GIVE you...
      Jack:Vertical integration.

  • Fuck Comcast (Score:5, Insightful)

    by F34nor (321515) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @12:08PM (#42884331)

    Largest military industrial complex member sells propaganda wing to oligopoly softcore porn distributor.

    • by necro81 (917438)
      That'd make for some hilarious jokes in a TV sitcom, if it weren't also so very sad.
  • Syfy Channel Impact (Score:5, Interesting)

    by guttentag (313541) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @12:56PM (#42884943) Journal
    Syfy is owned by NBC, and Comcast has already made changes there.

    Syfy's Eureka series debuted in 2006. I was never a big fan, but it looked like it had promise, gained a following and did well. They'd throw out occasional references to things like the LHC and CERN, had Joe Morton (who played Miles Dyson in Terminator 2) as a regular character, and even brought in our buddy (and by that I mean he reads and posts [slashdot.org] on Slashdot) Wil Wheaton toward the end.

    Comcast purchased a majority stake in NBC in January 2011. By August, Eureka was cancelled. The show had good ratings, good viewership, and was considered "the golden child" of Syfy, but Comcast killed it [wikipedia.org] because it was not profitable enough. It wasn't losing money, but Comcast decided that if you have to spend money on special effects to sell the show to viewers, there are lots of cheaper, more profitable ways to get viewers' attention.

    With Comcast poised to take full control of NBC sooner, expect more of the shows that drive Syfy's viewership to be cancelled in the next couple of years, and if they take it far enough eventually Syfy may go away.
    • by Jintsui (2759005)
      One of the three reasons I have kept my Comcast cable was Syfy. If they change it much more, that will certainly make me cancel.
    • by Hes Nikke (237581) <slashdot&gotnate,com> on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @01:36PM (#42885323) Journal

      Face it: the Sci-Fi channel has been a rotting corpse ever since they mutiliated the name.

    • by dywolf (2673597)

      Syfy won't go away. It'll just become the next SpikeTv....call it....AXE Tv.

      Spike used to be TNN. TNN used to be The Nashvile Network. As they started showing less and less country/Nashville related programming, fewer outdoors shows, they started just going by the acronym more and more. Til people nearly forgot what TNN even stood for. Eventually, they just dropped even that, and now we have SpikeTV whos main claim to fame seems to be the 1000 Ways to Die show.

      Or we could make the comparison to the lifecycl

      • by Obfuscant (592200)
        This has been the history of cable channels since the beginning. Cable networks were initially created with the idea of providing lots of niche programming so that everyone could have something. Kinda like "Spatula City" and the Scotch Tape Store at the mall. Specialized.

        Unfortunately, mass media means mass, and every niche channel thinks they need to grow and get more viewers. That, and the grand view of someday cable would be 500 channels of everything going away as the truth was realized: it costs money

        • by dywolf (2673597)

          they broadcast METV ota out here in oklahoma city, and it's actually not carried by Cox (that i've seen). I love it.
          I can watch Maude and Jeffersons and Mary Tyler Moore like i did as a kid, and I gotta say, Big Bang Theory should absolutely be ashamed of itself. it just doesn't even compare, even though those shows are 40+ years old.

          • by mattack2 (1165421)

            You should rent the DVDs. You're likely missing around 5 minutes of every episode cut out for more commercials.

    • Syfy is owned by NBC, and Comcast has already made changes there.

      Syfy's Eureka series debuted in 2006. I was never a big fan, but it looked like it had promise, gained a following and did well. They'd throw out occasional references to things like the LHC and CERN, had Joe Morton (who played Miles Dyson in Terminator 2) as a regular character, and even brought in our buddy (and by that I mean he reads and posts [slashdot.org] on Slashdot) Wil Wheaton toward the end.

      Comcast purchased a majority stake in NBC in January 2011. By August, Eureka was cancelled. The show had good ratings, good viewership, and was considered "the golden child" of Syfy, but Comcast killed it [wikipedia.org] because it was not profitable enough. It wasn't losing money, but Comcast decided that if you have to spend money on special effects to sell the show to viewers, there are lots of cheaper, more profitable ways to get viewers' attention.

      With Comcast poised to take full control of NBC sooner, expect more of the shows that drive Syfy's viewership to be cancelled in the next couple of years, and if they take it far enough eventually Syfy may go away.

      I miss the days of MST3K, Farscape, BSG and Star Trek reruns on Sci Fi. I'd settle for SG1 and Dr. Who. But hey, aspiring actors need low budget, low quality movies to build a career, right?

      • by Obfuscant (592200)

        I miss the days of MST3K, Farscape, BSG and Star Trek reruns on Sci Fi.

        Star Trek and BSG reruns are now on BBC America. Who knew that Star Trek and BSG were actually British-made television shows?

        ST yes, those reruns serve a purpose. But BSG the second/third/etc time around is just violence without purpose. Once you know who all the human-looking Cylons are, it's really no fun anymore. It is kinda funny, though, a machine with an alcohol problem, who had his eye poked out by another machine.

    • by Kaenneth (82978)

      I think a lot of TV accountants have it wrong.

      They think making a reality show for $100,000 that makes $200,000 (100% margin) is better than a professionally written/acted show that costs $1,000,000 making $1,500,000. (50% margin). When in reality they are giving up $400,000 to other media.

      As the old saying goes, it takes money to make money. The typical MBA knows how to cut costs, but not how to build a business.

      • by jonwil (467024)

        I think there are several factors at work here, the first being the demographics and the fact that the people who watch the reality show are more likely to be the right kind of people (the people who are most attractive to advertisers). The second is that if the show is a flop and doesn't make the money they thought it would (or doesn't get the eyeballs/ad dollars they thought it would) their sunk costs are much smaller so their risk is lower.
        Plus with a reality show, its easy to make changes mid-series if

        • by Kaenneth (82978)

          True, I did have the insight recently, that advertizing is targeted at people who are influenced by advertizing.

  • That 40 year old movie predicted this problem spot on:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFvT_qEZJf8 [youtube.com]

  • by DewDude (537374) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @02:36PM (#42886069)
    You can watch all the NBC you want; but after 250 hours your viewing will be reduced to MSNBC.
  • Most corps these days don't pay out dividends.

    At 51% they already controlled NBC.

    So why spend billions just to buy the rest?

    • by DrGamez (1134281)
      As fun of a piece of media/writing it is, having 51% of the company doesn't mean you control the company.
      • by Compaqt (1758360)

        What? Why not?

        The board controls the company.

        Shareholders elect the board.

        51% gets you a majority of the board, which appoints the Chief Executive, who then "controls" the company.

        What am I missing?

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