For nine months and counting, the Federal Communications Commission has been mediating Comcast Corporation’s buyout of NBC Universal, Inc. from The General Electric Company. The Friday meeting of economists [link] at the FCC headquarters is interesting in itself. While Bloomberg L.P. has been a respected source of financial news, its role in the Comcast-NBCU deal is a peculiar one: it has an interest in the deal’s outcome [link]. Assuming the deal goes through, what will happen regarding CNBC and Bloomberg TV? Will Comcast, as Bloomberg currently demands, be forced to sell CNBC, or will some other deal arise? It is a given that the FCC will not allow Comcast to purchase NBCU without some concessions, given that this will the first time one of the “Big Six” media corporations is owned by a television provider. The FCC may indeed attempt to use this deal as an opportunity to gain some regulation of cable content, as they have been attempting to do for a long while.
Speaking of mediation, the FCC has been keeping an eye on the transmission renewal talks between Time Warner Cable and The Walt Disney Company [link]. While this is not particularly unusual, Time Warner Cable has asked the FCC to improve the retransmission process before, and should difficulties arise in reaching an agreement before the 2 September deadline, the FCC may step in and set a precedent for future scenarios.
Finally, a happier story: Dish Network has begun offering AMC (owned by Cablevision) in HD [link]. This certainly adds some appeal; I am sure that there must be a few discontent cable users who were holding back on switching and who will now reconsider. Mad Men, which airs on AMC, is the only television show I actually watch on television. I watch everything else on Hulu or on DVD. Now if I can watch Mad Men on Dish’s new “TV Everywhere” site [link], I might reconsider as well.