DOJ Realizes That Comcast & Time Warner Are Trying To Prop Up Cable By Holding Back Hulu & Netflix
from the took-'em-long-enough dept
This has all been pretty obvious for years, but the Justice Department has finally begun investigating Comcast/NBC Universal and Time Warner Cable to see if any of their actions with regards to Netflix and Hulu trip the antitrust wire. In particular, they seem focused on whether or not tiered broadband plans are actually designed to keep people from using competing online services, and preventing people from cord cutting. For Comcast, the risk may be much higher. As part of the merger with NBC Universal, it made certain promises to the government concerning how it treats online services. If it's not living up to those promises, it could mean trouble.
Unlike some other antitrust investigations, this is one where you can make a strong case that these companies are making life worse for consumers, by using their natural monopoly positions to keep prices artificially high. That said, I have little faith that the DOJ will get things right with the investigation. I think it's likely that the natural economic pressure of cord cutting (which, despite denials from Hollywood and the cable industry, is very very real) is going to have much more of an impact on the eventual massive reconfiguration of the television market than any antitrust lawsuit.