Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Comcast and Time Warner Cable Merger

The question that my case study sought to answer was, "Who controls and monitors the media?". I chose to focus on the FCC's monitoring of the broadcast industry through, the proposed merger between Time Warner Cable and Comcast.

The role of the FCC is to monitor the broadcast industry to ensure that it acts in the public's best interest. The concern is that this merger is a form of horizontal integration (Straubhaar, Larose, Davenport), that will lead to a monopoly in the cable industry. I presented the concerns of some other companies that Comcast will be able to get content for cheaper rates and the fear that this will negatively impact internet streaming as Comcast will charge higher rates for buffer free internet (Eggerton). I Talked about Comcast's defense, that they and TWC do not operate in the same major markets and their belief that this will help bridge the digital divide.

The discussion that followed the case study focused primarily on if the class had a problem with this potential merger, and the general answer was, "No". My classmates did not feel this would hurt competition.When asked if they believed it would get blocked, one student said it would not because Comcast has a way of getting what it wants, which I found interesting. And when I asked if students had a problem with a body that is overseen by the government regulating private businesses, one of my classmates said that she did not because it helps prevent monopolies. One student also asked me if there was recent precedent for the FCC blocking a similar merger. The response that I had was the proposed AT&T and T-mobile merger that was never officially blocked because it was taken off the table by AT&T when it became clear the FCC would not approve it.This brought me back to the question for the week, the decisions that the FCC makes are very complex maybe this merger is not a big deal, but maybe the impact of their decision could set a precedent in terms of the control the FCC has on the shape of the broadcast industry.


Eggerton, J. (2014). FCC Hears Plenty From Comcast/TWC Opponents. Broadcasting & Cable, 144(32): 24.

Following the 1996 Telecommunications Act: Media Mergers and the Public Interest Standard. (2012). Conference Papers -- International Communication Association, 1-39

Kang, Cecilia. (2014 September 9). “A lot of people don’t like the Comcast-Time Warner merger, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be approved.” The Washington Post. Retrieved from                                                                              

Straubhaar, Joseph, Robert Larose and Lucinda Davenport. (2014). Media Now: Understanding Media, Culture, and Technology. Boston, MA: Wadsworth Company.                                 

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