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Businesses The Internet

The Comcast/TWC Merger Is About Controlling Information 107

Posted by Soulskill
from the there's-a-party-at-comcast's-house-and-attendance-is-mandatory dept.
An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from The Consumerist: "Comcast and proposed merger partner Time Warner Cable claim they don't compete because their service areas don't overlap, and that a combined company would happily divest itself of a few million customers to keeps its pay-TV market share below 30%, allowing other companies that don't currently compete with Comcast to keep not competing with Comcast. This narrow, shortsighted view fails to take into account the full breadth of what's involved in this merger — broadcast TV, cable TV, network technology, in-home technology, access to the Internet, and much more. In addition to asking whether or not regulators should permit Comcast to add 10-12 million customers, there is a more important question at the core of this deal: Should Comcast be allowed to control both what content you consume and how you get to consume it?"
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The Comcast/TWC Merger Is About Controlling Information

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  • by ganjadude (952775) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @05:56PM (#46736047) Homepage
    Does not mean that it is a good idea. Why would anyone want the company called the worst company in the world to take over another company? Time warner is not great by any stretch of the imagination, but comcast makes them look like gold
    • by SpockLogic (1256972) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @06:05PM (#46736101)
      Should Comcast be allowed to control both what content you consume and how you get to consume it?"
      No. Hell NO.
      • Should
        Comcast be allowed to
        Control both what
        Content you
        Consume and how you get to
        Consume it?"

        'C' is for COOKIE that's good enough for me! [youtube.com]

      • by Anonymous Coward

        unfortunately, they already do... the relative ease at which comcast was able to take over nbcuniversal is proof that the government regulators and legislators really dont give a shit about the people.. but only big business and big campaign contributions. the present comcast should be broken into 3-5 pieces, but that'll never happen.

      • by kheldan (1460303)
        No. They should not, and despite anything they may try to convince Capital Hill and the U.S. populace of, that's exactly what they're trying to do, and that's precisely what will happen. It not only should be blocked from happening, Comcast should be required to break up into smaller companies, just like the phone company was required to in previous decades, but in this case the reasons to do so are even more dire than just them having a mere monopoly on a market.
    • The worst company in the world? I thought that ignoble award still went to Wal-Mart.

    • by Z00L00K (682162)

      So we are heading into the world of Max Headroom [maxheadroom.com] at an alarming pace. We are almost there, Detroit is there already. The merge of Comcast and Time Warner Cable will become Network XXIII.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Yes, Comcast is entitled to control both the content you consume and how you consume it. It's their property, they earned it fair and square and can do whatever they want with it. To suggest otherwise is COMMUNISM!

    • by ganjadude (952775)
      im going to assume that was sarcasm and everyone missed it. at least I hope so
      • I'm with ganjadude on this one.

  • both cablecos are generating programming from scratch, and Comcast bought both NBC's production arm as well as Universal Studios. there may be an overlap in control between TimeWarner Cable and Warner Bros. studios.

    this is a BIG deal. cue the "in Soviet Russia" jokes, because they would have more control over what you see worldwide than just the Cyrillic-language channels.

  • Synergy. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Exelon owns both Energy Production and Distribution companies.

    When fracking made running nuke plans unprofitable, they pushed off maintenance on their nuclear fleet. Now that they're at the point they must do maintenance or risk a meltdown, they are engaging in lots of labor and finance chicanery with their distribution business units to funnel cash into their Nuclear Fleet. Because they are a Chicago based company and very close to the local government, if you are an outsourced employee, they have carte

  • A better description would be that information flows around me like a river during a flood and I reach down from the bank and scoop out a little bit for a sip on a hot day. Then I turn around and take a walk in the woods. Control that, Comcast!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The Comcast shoots you in the back of the head.

    • by EvilSS (557649)

      A better description would be that information flows around me like a river during a flood and I reach down from the bank and scoop out a little bit for a sip on a hot day. Then I turn around and take a walk in the woods. Control that, Comcast!

      You may want to avoid analogies about consuming something when you are arguing that you don't consume something else......

      Consume
      verb
      1.
      eat, drink, or ingest (food or drink).
      "people consume a good deal of sugar in drinks"

      • by c0d3g33k (102699)

        Good point. But a quick sip isn't exactly something I depend on, right? That was the real point. If one source of marginally interesting information flow gets ruined, there are plenty of other things to do. My mental well-being doesn't depend on 'consumption' of what Comcast/TWC might control. Maybe I'll just take the kayak down to the river and paddle around for a bit, take the dog for a walk or take the bike out for a spin. Comcast/TWC can DIAF.

        • by Fnord666 (889225)

          Good point. But a quick sip isn't exactly something I depend on, right? That was the real point. If one source of marginally interesting information flow gets ruined, there are plenty of other things to do. My mental well-being doesn't depend on 'consumption' of what Comcast/TWC might control. Maybe I'll just take the kayak down to the river and paddle around for a bit, take the dog for a walk or take the bike out for a spin. Comcast/TWC can DIAF.

          So when you go down to the local polling place, assuming that you even vote, do you just pick randomly?

  • No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 12, 2014 @06:32PM (#46736247)

    No. This merger should be prohibited. I'd go so far as to say that Comcast, and TWC need to split into SMALLER more competitive cable companies that might actually deliver shit that people want.

    • I dearly hope that this isn't another example of history repeating itself.
      The Sherman Anti-Trust Act [wikipedia.org]
  • Right on (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 12, 2014 @06:59PM (#46736375)

    As far as motion pictures were concerned this was decided in 1948 (Paramount vs United States). Simply put, movie studios can not own movie theaters. Another interesting anti-trust action was the dissolution of United Aircraft and Transportation into Boeing the aircraft manufacturer, Pratt and Whitney the aircraft engine manufacturer and most importantly United Airlines. So a single company can not both manufacture airplanes and run airlines. Unfortunately I fear our current political climate is so corrupted by the concentration of wealth that these actions could not occur today.

    • What, movies and planes but no cars?

      (I keed, I keed--please mod parent up.)

    • Re:Right on (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Opportunist (166417) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @07:43PM (#46736675)

      The split should be between owning the cables, running an ISP and providing content. Any combination thereof is already too much.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Amen. I work for a small ISP/IPTV/VoIP provider and the plain truth is this: a few big content providers take 80% of our customer's monthly cable bill. They essentially tell us how much we have to charge and what our channel package structure needs to look like. Sure they provide the illusion of choice: sure you can carry our popular channels in HD, all you need to do is add these 10 other junk channels in the same bundle and charge your customers 25 cents for each of them... Sure you can carry the Olym

  • by luther349 (645380) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @07:17PM (#46736511)
    we the users and genrel public know Comcast is a fucking cancer that needs to be cut out threw competing company's. but thanks to bad laws and red tape nobody can even get into the cable market even if they wanted to. why has the fcc not came in and said no yet. internet should be getting cheaper and faster but when nobody is there to undercut one another well it just get more expensive wile the back end is getting cheaper. tell you what fine let them merge but with the removal of all there anti compete clauses in all there areas. letting new company's come in and destroy there monopoly bet they wont want to merge then.
    • It's worth mentioning that where laws allow it, Google has already begun competing. And all reports are Google is doing an excellent job.
  • And create it... From start to finish, they control your entire media world.....

  • by Sir Holo (531007) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @07:29PM (#46736595)
    I don't consume content. No one does.

    If something is "consumed," it is no longer there after consumption.

    Viewing content, whether over the air or internet, is not "consuming." Viewing, subscribing, or using — maybe — but consuming, it is not.

    Similarly, "stealing" something (an MP3 or CD) means that IT IS NOT THERE AFTER THE ACTION. It may be copyright infringement, or fair use, but is is definitely NOT stealing.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The Democrats [newsmax.com] will make sure this merger gets approved

  • While people don't directly have a choice, indirectly many do - anyone near the border of the respective service areas. Go two towns over and it's Comcast land. In my case, apartments in Comcast territory were automatically excluded from consideration. If Comcast ever got so terrible that people fled their areas for Time Warner, it could actually affect property values. As it is, apartment complexes in Fios territory advertise this fact and are able to charge just as much as the ones 5 miles closer to t

  • After a year of shit content you won't care anymore. Comcast is about raping you for money. Period.

  • COMCAST is a greedy fat little blood sucker that takes all that technology has to offer and screws it up with moronic menus and programming lineups, lethargic and useless VOD and database features, inconsistent policy, and BAIT AND SWITCH quarterly revision to service fees that require hours of wasted time to correct. They run infomercials on every channel, refuse to stagger the programming over the clock and calender, and advertise on packages that were once commercial free. It boggles the mind how their
    • I'm sorry, you seem to be confusing content provider with content producer.

      NBC makes content. Comcast is simply an expensive, poorly maintained pipeline. I'm just saying, if you're going to be angry, be angry for the right reasons. As for getting what you want content wise, all the things you listed have their own issues. Netflix has limited selection due to licensing issues, Amazon is expensive if you're following 2 or more shows, and Youtube..well, come on, it's Youtube.

      You wanna rant and rave, feel

      • by Bob_Who (926234)

        You wanna rant and rave, feel free but just about everyone isn't going to take you terribly seriously without a modicum of objectivity

        You're absolutely right.

        I just closed my Comcast account (an hour on the phone) and I feel much better now

        . Don't pay cartels for crap. Just say no to Comcast.

  • by cascadingstylesheet (140919) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @09:07PM (#46737151)
    Huh, if only "progressives" controlled the federal regulatory agencies ...
  • by rsilvergun (571051) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @09:57PM (#46737391)
    is there anyone here that is in favor of, or will even defend the rights to do this merger?

    What I like is, when this goes through with almost universal opposition it'll be just one more reminder of how little power we here in America all have...
    • by Nimey (114278)

      This place has more than its share of doctrinaire libertarians and anarcho-capitalists, so I guarantee you'll be hearing from somebody.

    • by Zebai (979227)

      I'm not really for it but i'm not against it either, most of the people here yelling against it are against it just because they don't like comcast. Comcast has a lot of faults but I don't see how refusing this merger will make things better or worse for anyone, It will not really stifle competition because the companies don't really compete with each other and Time Warner has just as much problems as comcast does its just different problems. If i had one major thing to gripe about comcast its their de

    • is there anyone here that is in favor of, or will even defend the rights to do this merger?

      I will make an attempt at offering a defense, mainly based on the premise that it won't make any difference either way. Both companies suck, and they will still suck about the same after they merge. What needs to be done is dividing up the infrastructure builders from the service providers. That is how things will be fixed, and stopping this merger (or letting it happen) won't fix anything. Spending effort on it is a waste of spending effort.

      Furthermore, trends like Google fiber and Vermont's VTel and

  • They should deny the merger based on this principal alone.

    I would ask "Have they learned nothing from the 'too big to fail' debacle, but I fear the answer.

    These companies are already very large. We're talking about adding 10 million customers. That's 3% of Americans (assuming each customer is only 1 person, but since these "customers" are really households you can multiply that by 2 or 3). Comcast already has 20 million subscribers.

    I don't see any reason to allow one company to deliver service to 30 mill

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