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Posted at 6:55 AM ET, 01/19/2011

Comcast and NBC venture approved with bevvy of conditions

By Cecilia Kang

Federal regulators on Tuesday blessed Comcast's $30 billion acquisition of NBC Universal, imposing a slew of conditions on everything from competition with rivals to the price of Internet service for poor families out of concern that the firm's vast sweep could harm consumers.

The deal marries the nation's biggest cable and Internet service provider with NBC Universal's library of entertainment - which includes "30 Rock" and Bravo's "Top Chef" - and marks the first time a cable company has owned a major network.

Comcast promised that customers of competing cable providers will continue to get access to NBC shows and that Comcast subscribers will not be shut off from other networks.

For the first time, the government waded into the realm of online video, imposing conditions to ensure that Comcast provide some Internet versions of NBC shows and movies to Web services such as YouTube, Hulu and Apple TV.

The Justice Department, which approved the deal Tuesday along with the Federal Communications Commission, said that the venture would have been rejected in its original form but that the conditions give the government the power to ensure competition in the marketplace.

"The settlement we are announcing today ensures that the transaction will not chill the nascent competition posed by online competitors - competitors that have the potential to reshape the marketplace by offering innovative online services," said Christine Varney, head of antitrust at Justice.

Government approval removes the last obstacle to Comcast's remarkable rise from its humble roots as a family-owned Philadelphia cable company into a global media powerhouse. The new venture will be called NBC Universal, and the deal is expected to be closed by the end of the month, Comcast said.

Read here for full story.

By Cecilia Kang  | January 19, 2011; 6:55 AM ET
 
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Comments

Folks, I just don't understand the thinking of the FCC that destroyed local radio in 1988 as Hugh Stegman, wrote, "One ignores the engineering side at their peril. That's how the corporations got control of radio, by giving the licensee control of, and legal responsibility for, the transmitter and therefore the air itself." "The disease is that control of transmitters was taken away from the engineer signed into the log, and given to licensees off in some holding company incorporated in Delaware or whatever. It sounds like just a technical thing, but the effect was to centralize radio, kill off most local programming, and allow octopus like Clear Channel to take over." Now the approval of the FCC Comcast/NBC merger, I don't no what to say about that other then it just put access to media further in the toilet for the People. Former Producer/Programmer Pacifica/Wpfw Radio.>>Billy Ray (1/19/11)

Posted by: bredwards | January 19, 2011 9:02 AM | Report abuse

I can MSNBC taking a swing to the right and perhaps becoming an echo chamber of Fox "News." Good bye Obermann, Madow, and Ed.
Ask any Comcast customer how much they feel Comcast looks out for them. The answer will be Comcast does not. I guess the FCC never bothered to seek input from current Comcast subjects (customers).

Posted by: kschodack | January 19, 2011 9:49 AM | Report abuse

I can see MSNBC taking a big swing to the right and perhaps becoming an echo chamber of Fox "News."

Good-bye Obermann, Madow, and Ed.

Ask any Comcast customer how much they feel Comcast looks out for them. The answer will be Comcast does not. I guess the FCC never bothered to seek input from current Comcast subjects (customers).

Posted by: kschodack | January 19, 2011 9:50 AM | Report abuse

My dictionary has one v in bevy.

Posted by: Cosmo06 | January 19, 2011 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Under Comcast ownership, when the NBC signal goes down and you call, you'll be put on hold for 45 minutes to an hour only to have a recording tell you they are aware of the problem and hope to have a technician to you in 3 to 5 days.

Posted by: lf12 | January 19, 2011 4:20 PM | Report abuse

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