Friday, October 02, 2009

Comcast, NBC Deal Bad for Consumers

It is not a bad idea for GE to get out of the TV business. If there a step too far in diversification, this might be it. There are other companies out there who could give NBC the attention it deserves (though, what would happen to all of those GE jokes on 30 Rock?). Comcast, though, is not the right buyer.

Cable providers, in most markets, seem to have us where they want us. If we want cable, we only have a few choices, including the satellite companies. Here in the Denver area, for instance, Comcast is it for cable. The only other option is for a dish company.

So what happens, then, when a behemoth in the cable market owns some of the best content on broadcast and cable? How much are the competing companies have to pay to get access to those channels? And how much is your cable bill going to go up?

Now, I understand the position Comcast is in. Internet viewing, including on demand, is screwing up their model. So, the NBC/Universal thing is clearly a defensive play. There are ways, though, to embrace the changes, forge new deals, and take advantage before too many standards are established. If a subscriber model works for cable, wouldn't it work for online television? It would be good if my cable subscription gave me access to all of the shows I missed during the week so I could watch them from work while I eat lunch (okay, maybe while I work, too).

Maybe this deal could be good for both GE and Comcast, but I don't think it would be good for me and you.

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