FCC weighs Comcast/NBC Universal deal's negative impact on online video industry

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Well, it appears all is right with the world, and online video finally has arrived.

Writing about the Federal Communications Commission's Chicago hearing on Comcast's proposed acquisition of NBC Universal, The Washington Post dubbed online video as a "small, new but fast-growing market," and said the FCC was looking hard at how the deal would affect the industry.

The Post's late arrival on the online video scene aside, the hearing did bring online video to the front of the crowd.

"Approval of this proposed transaction would be a very steep climb," FCC Commissioner Michael Copps said. "I cannot, I will not, accept half-hearted pledges of fairness from industry when the future of the Web is at stake. And right now the assurances and conditions we have received on this Comcast/NBCU proposal don't pass the red-face test."

Copps--the only FCC commissioner to attend the hearing--later told the Philadelphia Inquirer that allowing the merger to happen could set off a land rush as other media companies attempted to grow through mergers, consolidating control of the Internet into just a few hands, similar to what has happened in the radio industry.

Copps wasn't alone.

"Comcast would like... a pipe that is capable of controlling, tiering and prioritizing online content, just as a cable distributor does," said Susan Crawford, a former White House advisor. "The leadership of the company believes that increased participation in content will delay the day when that pipe is just a pipe."

For more:
- see this Post article
- see this Inquirer article

Related articles:
Comcast won't kill Hulu, spin off NBC if sale approved
Comcast-NBC match a boon to cable?

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