PITTSBURGH, December 7, 2010 – “ACA commends House Energy & Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman for recognizing that the merger between Comcast Corp. and NBC Universal could reshape the media marketplace to the detriment of consumers and competition unless regulators impose meaningful conditions that take into account the difficulties small cable operators encounter while negotiating with large companies.
“The market power flowing from the Comcast-NBCU merger will cost pay-TV subscribers at least $2.4 billion more over nine years without narrowly tailored conditions to curb abuses. For that reason, we could not agree more when Chairman Waxman said in today’s letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Genachowski that the agency should develop merger conditions that do not force smaller companies into accepting ‘unreasonable fees, terms, or conditions simply because they do not have market power.’
“Although the ‘baseball-style’ arbitration remedy that FCC has used to mitigate the harms of previous media transactions may have worked in practice for larger pay-TV providers, it has proven to be of no value for smaller ones. As a result, media giants, whose transactions have been approved by the FCC, have been able to use their enhanced market power to extract a ‘merger premium’ from small cable operators. We firmly agree with Chairman Waxman that the Comcast-NBCU transaction will raise costs for consumers, and we urge the FCC to adopt remedies that work for smaller operators.”