Guess What Comcast is Purchasing Now...
On Tuesday, Comcast announced expedited plans to purchase General Electric’s remaining $16.7 billion share of NBCUniversal, strengthening the mega cable company’s hold over one of the world’s biggest entertainment giants. Comcast executive Brian Roberts says his company will complete the acquisition by the end of March, several years ahead of expectations.
The consolidation of Comcast-NBC is a stark reminder that control over airwaves and cyberspace belongs to a few corporations that get more and more powerful as they expand and fortify their empires.
Many consumer, labor and independent media groups rightly protested when Comcast first announced its intentions to acquire NBC in 2009. They feared vertical integration of service provider and content producer would pave the way for Comcast to gatekeep our media channels.
They were on to something. In recent history, Comcast has used its power to stifle competition and skirt around net neutrality principles. In 2011, the company settled with Zoom Telephonics on a claim that it was restricting consumer access to Zoom modems. And last year, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings called Comcast out on prioritizing Internet traffic for its Xfinity streaming app over Netflix, Hulu (which it also owns through NBC) and HBO GO.
It’s not unthinkable to speculate that Comcast’s full acquisition of NBCUniversal will only increase the frequency of these authoritarian business practices.
And Comcast isn’t just conquering our media space. The New York Times reports that Comcast will also shell out $1.4 billion to purchase the NBC’s studio at 30 Rockefeller Plaza and CNBC HQ in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey—the perfect physical metaphor for Comcast’s imperial aspirations.