DirecTV Chimes In On Comcast/NBCU8/19/2010 5:51 PM Eastern
DirecTV offered its take on the proposed joint venture between Comcast and NBC Universal, claiming that the deal would lead to higher prices for content, pose no public benefit and allow the distribution and programming giant to migrate programming to the Internet.
Comcast proposed a joint venture with NBCU in December where it would own 51% of the programming giant with current parent General Electric retaining a 49% interest. DirecTV has come out in the past against the merger.
In a filing with the Federal Communication Commission on Thursday night, DirecTV claimed the JV would allow Comcast.NBCU to "exploit an online loophole" to shift programming to Internet, on demand or mobile platforms and deny competitors access to that content or restrict access to consumers. DirecTV called for fair access to the same content at the same quality, speed and time as Comcast makes it available to itself.
DirecTV also feared a big spike in prices for NBCU content as a result of the venture - it said the JV could raise prices substantially - and that the transaction would not result in "cognizable public interest benefits."
DirecTV said that many of Comcast's commitments and claimed benefits - ranging from Common Sense Media deployment to increased Spanish-language programming to faster VOD deployment and further investment in NBCU programming - are already being done without a transaction.
"In addition, Applicants nowhere argue that the targeted conditions proposed by DirecTV would prevent them from realizing any of the purported benefits," DirecTV said in a statement.