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Mafia Style Tactics Taking Place in Comcast Merger?

Corporate giant Comcast is making some wild claims today concerning their merger with Time Warner Cable. The cable provider claims that several content programmers, which includes Netflix and the Discovery channel, tried to resort to Mafia style extortion to gain their support of the proposed merger.

These companies allegedly demanded unwarranted concessions from Comcast as a condition of non opposition to the merger between between Time Warner and Comcast. These accusations were laid out in a filing with the FCC on Comcast’s behalf. According to Bloomberg News, both Netflix and the Discovery channel have openly opposed this merger, as have a long list of of content providers.

This list of companies that oppose this monster sized media merger include Glenn Beck’s network THE BLAZE, Veria Living, the Back9 Network,Herring Broadcasting,  RFD-TV, and the Weather Nation. All of these program providers have very publicly criticized the attempt to merge two companies together that by themselves are already considered to be too big by many in the market.

What is missing from the filing with the FCC is the list of companies that opposed the merger until receiving the unwarranted concessions they sought for support of Comcast and Time Warner. Univision is one such program provider that falls into this category, as they were a very vocal opponent to this being approved in the early stages of merger talks. After they signed a deal with Comcast that states the cable provider will carry the Univision Desportes Network, all criticism stopped. Univision has even gone as far as refusing whatsoever to comment on the subject at hand.

When major players in a market such as this suddenly do a complete 180 degree turn on their viewpoints after making a lucretive deal with someone they were just criticizing, it begs the question what is really going on here? Was their silent support bought with a carriage deal to carry the Univision Desportes Network? Are we seeing Comcast resort to intimidation towards Netflix and the Discovery Channel with their FCC filing? How many program providers had their silence purchased with backroom deals that would never have been made if it weren’t for this merger taking place?

On a final note, it does need to be stated that these type of deals are not considered illegal by any means whatsoever. These types of deals could be considered unethical though if the end result of this merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable negatively impacts consumers.

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