Comcast Today: Even Fox News Hates the Time Warner Merger

Plus: Why gamers might be concerned about the Netflix-Comcast deal.

Even Fox News has problems with the Comcast-Time Warner merger.

Or, at least one of the conservative channels contributors, John R. Quain, does. He writes that there’s “a lot” wrong with the deal.

The proposed merger would create a behemoth of a monopoly, crushing networks, broadcasters and any content provider looking for a path. With nearly a third of all cable viewers at its command, Comcast could drop stations whenever there was a dispute, not just for part of the country but across the country. For broadcasters it would be like negotiating with a digital Attila the Hun: Surrender or I’ll black out your viewers in 19 of the top 20 TV markets in the U.S.

Of course, broadcasters could move content to the Web to reach viewers. But a merged Comcast-Time Warner would wield even more control over the Net, potentially cutting off the alternative path.

All these moves, thanks to the improved “scale” of a massive, merged cable giant, would also discourage so-called “cord cutters,” the generation of people trying to liberate themselves from cable TV service. The cost savings would disappear. And while some disruptive new services, such as Aereo, are seen as threats to cable operators (and broadcasters), they face significant legal hurdles, too.

A better path would be to encourage high-speed Internet competition from the likes of Google and then see what innovations and improvements the cable companies can offer to compete. They should focus on building better services, not bigger deals.

Still, that’s pretty remarkable coming from the nominally pro-business conservative channel.

Other Comcastic headlines:

• Comcast Corp’s top lobbyist David Cohen is known to be a savvy political operator, having pushed through the No. 1 U.S. cable operator’s landmark acquisition of media giant NBC Universal in 2011. But when it comes to getting approval for Comcast to buy its biggest rival, Time Warner Cable Inc, Cohen must win over someone just as well versed in the ways of lobbyists and the cable industry: Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler. “You can’t kid a kidder. Having been a lobbyist, he knows all their tricks,” Blair Levin, a fellow at the Washington-based nonprofit Aspen Institute, said of Wheeler. (Reuters)

• Why a deal between Netflix and Comcast matters to gamers: The bandwidth used in the transfer of video game-related data is climbing, with video streaming service Twitch ranked fourth in peak internet traffic in the U.S. this past February. Valve boss Gabe Newell said last year that when a new update is released for its strategy battle game Dota 2, the game accounts for up to three percent of the world’s internet usage. And as next-gen video games produce higher-fidelity graphics, more games are streamed from the cloud and the games industry continues to push the limits of hardware and software, gaming is only going to gobble up more of the bandwidth pie. It may not be a target today, but who knows about tomorrow. “The Netflix story is an example of something that five years ago, Netflix-type streaming was not a large factor in broadband, and now it’s by far the biggest factor,” Werbach said. “Gaming is certainly going to play more or a role, but exactly how it matches up with who has power, I’m not entirely sure.” (Polygon)