Comcast and Time Warner Cable’s $forty five billion merger places 30 million clients underneath one roof
It is official: Confirming the leaks from final night time, Comcast has introduced it plans to accumulate Time Warner Cable. This mix of the nation’s #1 and #2 cable corporations will stretch from coast to coast, as TWC controls markets like New York Metropolis, LA and Texas, whereas Comcast strongholds embrace Philadelphia and Washington DC. TV is not the one medium in play both, since as Gigaom factors out, the 2 corporations collectively cowl not solely 30 million+ cable TV subscribers, but in addition across the similar variety of web connections and about 15 million telephone strains. So, what is the doubtless impression for patrons because of the deal? For a number of causes the reply immediately is “not a lot.”
It is going to take time for the combo to realize regulatory approval from the FCC and Justice Division — verify after the break for Comcast’s causes (Apple, Google, Netflix and Hulu) why the FCC ought to approve it — like just like the prolonged acquisition course of we noticed when Comcast snatched up NBCUniversal a couple of years in the past. Regardless of that, each events anticipate the deal to shut by the top of this yr, though apparently there is no “break up payment” if the deal doesn’t undergo for some purpose, which got here into play when AT&T tried to accumulate T-Cellular. As a part of the announcement, Comcast says it is “ready to divest techniques serving roughly three million managed subscribers,” and expects to realize about eight million internet subscribers with the transfer. Comcast continues to be making an attempt to roll out its new X1 TV platform together with cloud DVR entry, whereas Time Warner Cable brings its personal setup, full with StartOver and LookBack VOD options that permit viewers return in time with no DVR.
Identical to Constitution with its failed bid for TWC, Comcast thinks it could actually negotiate higher charges with the studios and channels that present it content material as soon as it expands to cowl a bigger buyer base. One other profit is the power to effectively ship extremely worthwhile excessive-velocity web and telephone service, though we might be shocked to see our payments go down in any respect consequently. Bloomberg studies Constitution and Comcast had been engaged on a mixed supply for TWC, however that is rumored to have fallen aside final week. Surprisingly, TWC has a fair decrease popularity with clients than the a lot-maligned residence of Xfinity, so in that respect maybe issues cannot get a lot worse?
One other problem comes again to the management of web entry, with community neutrality and metered service hanging within the stability — whereas Comcast is experimenting with numerous ranges of knowledge caps, Time Warner Cable is just not in the intervening time (at the least because the rejection of its tiered system again in 2009), and the 2 additionally differ of their remedy of HBO Go on Roku and Samsung units. A number of convention calls are scheduled as we speak so the businesses could make their case — public curiosity teams like Free Press and Public Information are already opposing the transfer — we’ll be listening intently for explanations on why shifting from “cartel companions” to a single providing is a good factor for anybody.
o In the present day, the MVPD market is much more aggressive than it was when the AT&T Broadband and Adelphia transactions have been accepted by regulators.
• Satellite tv for pc corporations have taken share from conventional cable corporations, and the vigorous new entrants like Verizon FiOS and AT&T U-verse have additionally entered the video and broadband area. Google has additionally launched Google Fiber in quite a lot of markets throughout the nation.
• Since 2005, satellite tv for pc subscribers have grown by 7.zero million subscribers; telco subscribers have grown by 10.7 million subscribers; whereas cable subscribers have declined by 10.four million subscribers. (Supply: SNL Kagan)
• Quite a few on-line companies like Apple, Google, Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, and a number of smaller corporations are getting into the web video area and making an attempt to place themselves as rivals. Whereas we view on-line companies as complementary to our enterprise, earlier antitrust considerations about additional cable consolidation are really antiquated in mild of right now’s market realities.
• Courts have acknowledged that Comcast is just not a “bottleneck” for video programming given the emergence of vigorous competitors within the MVPD market during the last decade.
• Furthermore, most of the techniques that Comcast is buying from Time Warner Cable (together with the most important ones in NYC and LA) are in extremely aggressive native MVPD markets.
– Comcast (@comcast) February thirteen, 2014
“Comcast can’t be allowed to buy Time Warner Cable. Antitrust authorities and the FCC should cease it.” http://t.co/CRisAFRpF9
– Jodie Griffin (@jgriffinpk) February thirteen, 2014
In an already uncompetitive market a merger of the 2 largest cable corporations ought to be unthinkable: http://t.co/AeNGxgV2U6
– Free Press (@freepress) February thirteen, 2014