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Comcast dilemma: Buy NBC, but allow rivals access?

2010-12-27 13:07 by
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The head of the Federal Communications Commission is proposing regulatory conditions to ensure that cable TV giant Comcast Corp. cannot stifle competition in the video market once it takes control of NBC Universal.

The conditions laid out Thursday by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski are intended to guarantee that satellite providers and other rival television services can still carry marquee NBC programming and that new Internet video distributors can get the content they need to grow and compete.

Comcast's takeover of NBC Universal could have profound consequences for the nascent market for Internet video a market that could eat into Comcast's core cable TV business if enough consumers drop their cable subscriptions in favor of low-cost alternatives online.

Genachowski wants to ensure that Comcast won't be able to use its control over NBC's vast media empire to withhold content from emerging online competitors such as Netflix Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Apple Inc. locking consumers into costly monthly cable bills to get access to a wide range of popular programming.

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