WASHINGTON — Opponents of Comcast’s acquisition
of NBC Universal deal have called it a template for the
Comcast and NBCU agree, in a very different context.
Comcast and NBCU lobbyists are trying to persuade
the Federal Communications Commission that their
proposed deal could be one of the solutions to the FCC’s
current conundrum of what, if anything, to do about the
future of news and information distribution.
As revealed in a filing at the FCC, the companies’
advocates met with Steven Waldman, heading up
the FCC’s Future of Media inquiry, to suggest the
merger would advance the FCC’s goals of securing the
“information needs of communities” at a time when
traditional models are being deconstructed in the face
of online competition.
The lobbyists pointed to the promises of expanded
local news production on multiple platforms.
Waldman has said the FCC is not necessarily trying to
preserve traditional outlets, so long as new platforms
can fill the same functions.
Comcast and NBCU also count in the “plus
column” their commitments to public, education and
government channels, their eff orts to “nurture the next
generation of professional journalists” and the benefits
for “diverse communities and independent content.”
Several cable operators, including Comcast, have
been moving, or trying to move, PEG channels to digital
as part of the eventual transition of all channels from
analog. In one of its voluntary commitments, Comcast
has agreed not to move any PEG channels in any system
to digital until that system has gone all digital, or unless
“the community” asks them to be moved there.