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Rep. Boucher to Hold Hearings on Comcast-NBC Merger
Posted By Aruna Viswanatha On January 6, 2010 @ 3:41 pm In Antitrust, News | Comments Disabled
When Comcast Chairman Brian Roberts and NBC Universal President Jeff Zucker head to Capitol Hill in the first week of February for a hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary antitrust subcommittee about the proposed merger between Comcast and NBC, they will also be stopping by the House.
According to a person familiar with the schedule, the House Energy and Commerce communications, technology, and the internet subcommittee chaired by Rep. Rick Boucher will hold a hearing on the public interest concerns the deal raises. Both hearings will be scheduled for the same day.
A final witness list has not been announced, but previous reports have confirmed that top company chiefs will attend.
The deal will be reviewed by either the Justice Department or the Federal Trade Commission for possible antitrust violations, and by the Federal Communications Commission, which assess if the deal is in the public interest.
Additional hearings on the deal are expected later in the year before the House Judiciary Committee and the Senate Commerce Committee.
The deal, which was announced in early December and valued NBC Universal at $30 billion, would fundamentally alter the media landscape and would give the cable giant control over up to one in five TV viewing hours, according to some analysts.
Critics have voiced concerns about access both for Comcast’s rival cable providers to content owned by NBC, and for rival television channels to be included in Comcast’s programming packages.
Earlier this week, media watchdog group Free Press attacked Comcast and other cable companies for their TV Everywhere strategy to provide television online for existing subscribers. The group said it had the potential to limit competition in the emerging online video industry.
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