Comcast has made an official bid to purchase Time Warner Cable for $159 per share, or $45 billion. THR reports that the merger would mean that this one company would now “command three-quarters of the market” and that the motive behind the deal is to “give companies increased leverage in carriage talks with TV network operators, which have in recent years become more contentious.”
Time Warner Cable has accepted the offer. It is now just up to the federal government to approve — or at least not get in the way of — the deal. The Obama administration allowed Comcast to purchase NBC, which was a huge merger. And we know that Comcast’s NBC/MSNBC news divisions have been major Obama cheerleaders. This is all in the merger’s favor.
What to make of it….
It is hard to take sides when all you are dealing with are bad guys.
If Big Cable can push Big Entertainment around, it can get better pricing, which will allow Big Cable to better compete with Streaming providers such as Netflix. Big Cable might also be able to push back against Big Entertainment who currently force Big Cable to carry all those crappy, lower-rated cable channels.
Right now, for example, if a cable provider wants to carry a popular channel like an ESPN or the Discovery Channel they are forced to also carry the company’s ESPN 2 through 35, or Discovery Science, Discovery Animals, and Discovery Oceans. I’m exaggerating for effect, but you get the idea.
That is another reason our cable bills are so high and so much left-wing crap is pumped into our homes.
This is also why cable providers are hemorrhaging customers — customers who are unplugging cable entirely and moving to Streaming content. Which brings me to…
What concerns me is a Big Bundled Cable operator like Comcast-Time Warner (or whatever they intend to call themselves) using their clout to muscle Big Entertainment into not entering into licensing deals with Streaming providers — which is probably something Big Entertainment would like to have an excuse to do.
Remember, Big Business doesn’t fear government taxes or regulation In fact, Big Business embraces burdensome taxes and regulations as a way to kill off what they truly fear: up-and-coming competitors. In that same vein, the existential threat to Big Cable and Big Entertainment (who right now squabble over little things like pricing but work together like Big Business and Big Government) is Streaming. Their mutual goal is to either co-opt Streaming into their wicked little cabal or marginalize it as much as possible.
Big Cable needs Big Entertainment to survive. On the other hand, Big Entertainment knows Big Cable is a cash cow that allows them to avoid market forces like viewer ratings (carriage fees are the amount of money Big Cable pays to ratings-loser networks like CNN and MSNBC regardless of viewership. Based on ratings alone, it is unlikely either cable news network and dozens of other channels could survive).
There is a lot going on in this merger that, yes, matters to the pocketbook of the everyday American, but also to our culture. Only a handful of companies produce a vast majority of America’s entertainment — and they are not on our side.
Let’s just hope Netflix remains pure to its mission of making tons of money by becoming as popular as humanly possible.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC