The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

The Comcast/Time Warner Merger

should be disqualified on its face for trust reasons.  The largest and second largest cable TV providers joining together in an already consolidated field?

This is why you can’t have good things, folks.  The influence over culture that mergers of media companies represent is vastly powerful, and has been misused in the past, as when the media amplified President Bush’s innuendo that Iraq had been behind 9/11, leading to over 70% of Americans believing that the invasion was revenge for 9/11, when Iraq had nothing to do with it.  (And Saudi Arabia, which did, was never on the target list.)


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  1. This will be blocked by our government the same way the American Airlines/US Airways merger was. Oh, wait…

  2. Mallam

    And meanwhile, countries like France, South Korea and Japan offer Internet speeds that are twice as fast as one can get over here for about half the cost.

    Competition, Ian. Obviously the answer is to deregulate. It’s always the answer.

    On that note, caught this on NPR the other day:

    When It Comes To High-Speed Internet, U.S. ‘Falling Way Behind’

    I’ve visited both Seoul and Stockholm recently — they take these services for granted. For about $25 a month they’re getting gigabits symmetrical service, which is 100 times faster than the very fastest connection available in the United States and for a 17th of the price. It really is astonishing what’s going on in America. Americans aren’t quite aware of it because we don’t look beyond our borders, but we’re falling way behind in the pack of developed nations when it comes to high-speed Internet access, capacity and prices.

  3. Oh data and media service in the USA is really terrible for the price paid. I’ve now lived in both the USA and Europe and see the difference!

  4. oh say can you see

    in more ways than one the usa is well on its way to at most 4th world nation level status – except for the 1% types of course. but the usa continues to spend $1 Trillion+ on Death & Destruction.

  5. EG

    “we’re falling way behind in the pack of developed nations”

    Seems like a feature rather than a bug. Which do we suppose is more important to the PTB: America leading the way in innovation, or Comcast making tons of money for minimal expense and protecting their television near-monopoly while funneling some of that dough to our politicians?

  6. Jason Bonham

    Current CEO pricing mechanisms are keyed off revenue growth. For a CEO to make egregious sums, he must grow revenue and profit, and therefore it is in his best interest to act contrary to many stakeholder interests.

    In a shrinking industry (Cable TV), the only way to do this is to charge more for each unit sold or reduce input costs. Input costs will be easy – you can lay off a lot of duplication in Cable Co. Administration with a merger. Increasing pricing might be challenging if the FCC is watching, but can be smoke and mirrored with changes in packages etc.

    I would expect that Comcast will move to a Verizon/ATT model where customers will have to estimate their usage, and then get punished for mis-predicting. Also, I will expect contracts to be pretty standard fare in 5 years.

    For example, one will sign a 2 Year contract for a cable/internet/phone package which includes a certain number of GB and phone minutes, and then pay for extras and overages. Speed will also be included so Netflix watchers can be punished.

    The transition will be slow and clever, and most Americans won’t notice. Except the’ll have less discretionary money to spend on other things.

    If it’s good for the 1%, its good for Amerika

  7. Compound F

    How’s the book coming? Was it scuppered? If I were to pay 5 hundo simoleans for an article, I’d have it aimed at my eldest nephew & fiancee (32 years), and his lesser siblings. I’m honestly torn between that and a deer fence. We’re talking real money, real issues.

    I’d rather buy your book. I’m not a medici, tho’ commissioning an article seems like a perfectly good wedding gift.

    Whatever, your writing is fantastic, and I’m in arrears with you , but I cannot grow food without a deer fence.

  8. The Tragically Flip

    Krugman makes a good point that this behemoth will have effective monopsony powers too, in the buying of content. Savings that will of course not be passed on to consumers, but will result in lower quality programming being produced.

  9. stirling

    The people will change for the priv

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