Comcast Buying NBCU Will Lead To Higher Prices… But Is That Really A Bad Thing?

from the driving-folks-to-cut-the-cord dept

I’ve said from the beginning that I really don’t understand all of the complaints about the Comcast/NBCU merger. It’s the modern equivalent of AOL/Time Warner, which really only served to hasten people to move away from crappy old solutions. So, when I see a report claiming that the end result will mean higher prices for consumers as NBC jacks up its rates, I’m still not convinced this is a bad thing. As we’ve seen, there’s a growing trend towards people cutting the cord on cable (even if the cable folks are in denial about this). Having prices shoot up even higher seems only likely to hasten the inevitable. You can’t raise prices indefinitely if there’s real competition — and the problem is that the TV companies still don’t believe (or simply don’t realize) that there’s increasing competition every day. If NBCU/Comcast really does lead to higher prices, it’ll likely also lead to more subscribers realizing that there are alternatives as well.

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Companies: comcast, nbc universal

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Comments on “Comcast Buying NBCU Will Lead To Higher Prices… But Is That Really A Bad Thing?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

I don’t know. I think that the past 30 years of avoiding anti-trust lawsuits has resulted in a weaker economy, lost jobs, lots of debt, and lots of failing companies that are too big to fail.

The comcast/NBC merger will result in some redundancies. Those can be eliminated, increasing profits. Since comcast will have some control over hulu, which is a competitor, it will die a death of five 2-3 minute commercial breaks per show.

Comcast will also begin broadband caps.

We can regulate comcast now, we can regulate them later, or we can accept that we have allowed the 2 time finalist for worst company in America to have more say over America’s communications distribution network.

I know you sometimes have to burn the village to save it. I just don’t want to be in the hut that’s on fire.

Anonymous Coward says:

There is just one difference. In the times of AOL nobody could stop others from competing with them with Comcast that is not true, they hold the infra-structure and can do whatever they want, competition is not coming anytime soon.

If people started building the necessary infra-structure to compete now it would take a couple of decades to finish it. But that is with a tremendous push for it and billions of dollars to do it and with no government interest in building something like that or people organized enough it is not going to happen anytime soon.

It can get silly pretty quickly before it gets any better.

Bloomman (profile) says:

Free market

Information is available through too many pipes now Greevar. The more companies like Comcast try to force us down a pipe, the more consumers will gravitate to other options. It’s beyond the control of any one entity, it’s about the ability to convey your message now, not how you control your oppositions ability to disseminate.

Josh Taylor says:

Re: Re:

And it will drive everyone out of their TV and internet addictions and more time at the dinner table in family conversations, more time outdoors, more time losing weight, and more time to get to read a book.

Yep, the Television media and the internet will die. Just dump your TV and Internet, and watch entertainment and the whole economy bury its’ own grave. We’re better off without TV or the internet. There’s a lot of things we need to do.

Pixelation says:

“and the problem is that the TV companies still don’t believe (or simply don’t realize) that there’s increasing competition every day.”

I keep wondering when one of these companies is going to offer me the option to choose which channels I would like. A sort of “make your own package”. Do I want 50 of the $1/ month channels or 10 of the $5/ month channels. Etc, etc.
The other thing I wonder about is the offers for new customers only. Loyalty goes unrewarded. It seems backwards.
Offer me the channels I want, let me pick them at a reasonable cost, reward my staying on as a customer and I think you would have a winner. This option would be hard to beat. The competition would be crushed.
Ahh, a person can dream can’t they?

Michial Thompson (user link) says:

Little mikee's babble

Little Mikee;

You sit and babble non stop about “cord Cutters” and yet you offer not one bit of prrof that even one of them has went in the direction you claim. You sit and talk about how Time Warner loses 150k subscribers and then talk about how they are all going to file sharing and onlive viewing.

BUT you offer not one stitch of evidence to back up your side at all.

Here in my area I would be one of your “cord cutters” because I dumped Time Warner. BUT it had nothing to do with going to file sharing or piracy like you claim. I went to FiOS TV. I still have all my same channels and still watch all the same shows. BUT I am one of the 150k people who you claim cut the cords to go to filesharing.

In reality, FINALLY for the first time in history Time Warner has had a reasonably reliable service to compete with and they are losing a large percentage of Subscribers to that competition. The Echonomy may also be catching up with people as well, and a percentage may be forced away from TW for that reason too.

But my guess is a small percentage went to filesharing or any other free online service.

So instead of capitalizing on the fools that follow you’s ignorance and playing into their foolish notion that everything is free and they have a right to take anything the feel they do not need to pay for, and offer some proof to back up your babble.

Josef Anvil (profile) says:

Re: Little mikee's babble

Switching from Comcast to FIOS TV is not cutting the cord, it’s just switching to a new cord. “Cord cutting” is leaving cable or fiber TV completely and opting to view TV over one of the many alternatives out there.

Im not sure what studies there are out there to offer you proof that there is a cord cutting movement, but I’m sure that I am not the only one. In fact I know quite a few people that have opted out of cable recently. Yes we need the broadband connection, but that is the only service that I am using.

There are so many other options out there now for telecommunications that it’s staggering. Skype, Google Talk, project free TV, YouTube, and Hulu are just some and more and more keep popping up all the time.

While I fully agree that cord cutters are just a small percentage of the market, I would suggest that they have growing influence, especially in a down economy. During the lean times a lot of free online services will probably be doing all they can to improve their offerings and drawing new subscribers/users, and the snowball effect could be quite devastating to the old players’ core business.

Lastly, if you read this blog regularly you would know that Mike does not believe that everything is free, nor should it be. The point is that the technologies in the market are effecting change and the old business models are struggling for survival in court rather than in the marketplace.

I say let the horse and carriage people stick with their model as the cars appear and see what happens.

Wolfy says:

BTW, to little mikee thompson #14, I’m one of those that cut the cable! You’re a bloody moron or you’re terribly mis-informed. I got tired of having to convince Con-Cast to NOT raise my bill for basic cable service every four to six months. They can’t seem to abide by their own agreements!I finally told them to stick their cable service where the sun doesn’t shine.

Anonymous Coward says:

Really? Doubt it....

and the problem is that the TV companies still don’t believe (or simply don’t realize) that there’s increasing competition every day

I seriously doubt that. I’d say the evidence suggests that they know excatly how much competition there is and what they are competing against, but just don’t have the imagination to di anything useful about it besides legal action and cosy up to the content providers ever tighter (if indeed they are not ultimately one and the same).

I’d also be curious as to how much of things like package-based offerings from TV companies are mandated by content providers. Anyone have an opinion?

abc gum says:

Re: Really? Doubt it....

One way to help ensure that the market place does have competition is to vote with your dollars. I would rather pay a few extra dollars by using a smaller ISP than subsidize the large monopolistic alternatives via their “bundling”. Comcast will charge for the ISP functionality regardless of your desires, whereas Qwest (and I assume other telcos) offer a “bring your own ISP” plan. I’m not aware of what options, if any, are available via Verizon.

AFAIK, the packaging of content is driven by the content providers. For example, the recent spats between News Corp and others. I imagine that this sort of thinking will dominate the future of such adventures by same into the ISP and content merged environment. I can hear it now … ads telling me that I can save with a bundle of my favorites, including access to Google, BBC, and NewEgg.

Yes the future is bright and holds promise – maybe.

Susan Crawford (user link) says:

Merger matters because local cable monopolies OWN internet access

I’ve explained why the merger matters to the future of internet access in this country here:

Local cable monopolies will be your only choice for video-quality speeds. The merger will make it possible for Comcast to raise barriers of entry to any competing broadband provider. As one key actor said to me recently: “Comcast owns the internet.”

Look beyond content to see how it can be used to exert control over the Internet.


Hephaestus (profile) says:

Speeding things up ....

In the quest for corporate profits in a diminishing market they will increase the cost of the channels. This will in turn cause more people to cut the cord. Which will cause them to increase prices even further. Rise lather repeat …

They will then try to put caps on internet service which will be a fail as there will be a huge backlash from consumers. If they do place caps on downloads it will lead to higher prices and more companies and local municipalities entering the market. With Legal battles like the North Carolina’s city of Wilson -vs- Time warner happening and eventual federal intervention openning up the broadband arena.

All in all it will lead to more consumer choice, lower costs, and the eventual failure of the cable monopolies. Thats a good thing.

Anon says:

Internet turning into Cable

It looks like the internet is going to turn into cable. ESPN3 was just the start. Content companies will begin charging ISP’s so customers can access their content. ISP’s will pay (just like with ESPN3), and pass those costs along to customers whether they customer wants those charges or not.

It won’t be long before all the big dogs follow ESPN’s lead and demand money from ISP’s or close off their content.

Mike says:

The real facts on the ground

If a lot of people are “cutting the cord on cable” you wouldn’t know it from new subscriptions to Comcast… it seems more people than ever are signing up and wanting DVR’s and triple play packages. And Comcast has been working on upping the bandwidth and has a plan in place to distribute docsis 3 modems to all its customers because the speeds will be surpassing what can be provided on docsis 2 all around. Prices didn’t go up though… The only reason people complain about comcast is because they are the “big guy”. Their service is as good or better than any out there as far as reliability and customer service go.

marak (profile) says:

A little to the left of this topic but its been bugging me. Here in aus we have whats called a VISP(virtual isp), for example i can rent bandwidth/connections off an existing supplier(or even isp with extra bandwidth) and rent that out to consumers at a fairly decent rate.

Surely you can do something similar over there – i just asked my isp who’s supplying their bandwidth and they told me, then i contacted that company and voilla, im basicly ready to start it with me and a few mates.

Anonymous Coward says:

Cord Cutting

I live with a Cable Cable employee. They work in marketing and sales and so they have a very direct involvement in the issue of Cord Cutters. This Company does know about Cord Cutters, but has given up on trying to prevent them leaving. The idea is that there will always be some that will never cut the cord until after the technology is long since dead. Focusing on squeezing out as much money as they can from those reluctant to change is the new strategy. Kind of like how there are still people who buy VHSs, just from thrift stores, garage sales, and online instead of the local store.

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