from the trust-us-we're-the-cable-company dept
The unveiling of the group resulted in Comcast penning a blog post in which it slammed the new group for trotting out complaints that "weren't found to be credible" in the company's past transaction reviews (like when Comcast acquired NBC, then ignored the merger conditions crafted by itself). To hear Comcast tell it, the company found at least 600 "thoughtful and positive" people who think Comcast getting immensely more massive is a great idea:
"While it’s no surprise that the same competitors and special interest groups who’ve gone after Comcast in the past are at it again, the record tells a very different story. Over the last several months, the FCC has received an outpouring of nearly 600 thoughtful and positive comments about the transaction from a wide range of supporters. Unlike most of the criticism, the support has been very transaction-specific.Did we mention we pay most of these people for their support? I think we might have forgotten to mention that.
This support includes more than 100 Chambers of Commerce and business organizations, as well as a wide array of small businesses, start-ups, and technology companies. It includes more than 20 programmers, nearly 200 diversity groups and community partners, and over 150 state and local leaders of both parties."
Kind of amusingly, Kate Cox at the Consumerist noticed that when Comcast originally blasted telecom reporters and analysts with an e-mail copy of its blog post, the company apparently forgot to proofread it and actually included some internal editing notes. Comcast has proudly and repeatedly stated that because Comcast and Time Warner Cable don't directly compete, the merger can't possibly be bad. Except, in its accidentally-included blog note, Comcast indicates that it wasn't entirely sure of this fact:
"We are still working with a vendor to analyze the FCC spreadsheet but in case it shows that there are any consumers in census blocks that may lose a broadband choice, want to make sure these sentences are more nuanced."That's essentially Comcast accidentally publicly admitting that, even after a year of merger prep and defense, that it doesn't actually fully understand the impact of its own deal proposal. The note suggests Comcast had to pay an outside vendor to double check FCC data (provided to the FCC by Comcast), and then would have softened its rhetoric depending on what the analysis found. In a follow up e-mail to me, Comcast denies that it doesn't understand its own $45 billion mega-merger, but then adds to truly do so would take actually visiting some neighborhoods:
"Karl, our filings have detailed this issue in the past. It would literally take someone walking the streets or going down to a house by house map to find out if there is any actual overlap - and this would be if any likely in only a very very small number of homes."Perhaps you should maybe go do that before repeatedly insisting there's no competitive overlap? Sure, it's true that the merger is more about vertical integration, programming leverage and monopsony concerns than direct market competition, but that doesn't make Comcast's stumbling, bumbling defense of the deal any less entertaining.