Comcast Today: Is the Merger Bad for Hispanics?

Univision's CEO thinks so.

Would the Comcast-Time Warner merger be bad for Latino television viewers? The CEO of Univision, Randy Falco, thinks so.

CNNMoney reports:

“You’ve already heard that the new Comcast will be the dominant cable and high-speed broadband provider in markets with 30% of all U.S. cable households,” Falco said on the call. “What you may not know is that the new Comcast will serve markets with 91% of all Hispanic households and be the top TV distributor in 19 out of the top 20 Hispanic markets. That gives this new company staggering influence over Hispanic consumers.”

He went on to describe how one of Univision’s upstart cable channels, Univision Deportes Network, is being carried by “all of the top distributors” except Comcast.

“Either Comcast doesn’t understand that soccer is a passion point for Hispanics or they don’t support competitors who have competing services,” he said. “My fear is that the latter is the case and this type of anti-competitive conduct would continue.”

Falco didn’t say that Univision would oppose the merger, however. The Hollywood Reporter offers a reponse from a Comcast exec in detail:

“Comcast is proud to be the nation’s largest provider of Latino and multicultural television packages, with a distribution platform that delivers more than 60 Latino networks in both Spanish and English. We have a proven track record with Hispanic customers offering the greatest programming choices in linear, digital, and on-demand platforms. New independent networks (El Rey and Baby First Americas), the Xfinity Latino Entertainment Channel – the first-of-its-kind interactive channel – and the celebrated Xfinity Freeview Latino event are a few examples to demonstrate how Hispanic inclusion extends beyond our robust procurement, workforce, and community investment practices.

“Comcast has had an extraordinary, long-standing commitment to Hispanic programming and through the transaction with Time Warner Cable, we are committed to bringing high-quality Hispanic content to millions of additional Americans,” he concluded.

Other Comcastic headlines:

Comcast Has About 76 Lobbyists Working Washington; Comcast has registered about 76 lobbyists, spread across 24 firms, to work on its pending $45 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable, according to first quarter 2014 filings with the Senate Office of Public Records. While some have called it an “army,” Comcast’s lobbying effort is more of a tactical special operations unit. In most cases, lobbyists and firms appear to have been assigned targeted politicians and officials to woo on the merger. In many cases, the lobbyists themselves are former government colleagues of the people they are able to target. And given the sky-high stakes—uniting the top two cable and two of the top three largest internet broadband providers—the company appears to have everyone who matters in Congress covered (Time)

Comcast-Time Warner Merger Could Cause A’Huge War’ In Washington, D.C.Politico’s technology reporter Tony Romm said these lobbyists have plenty of convincing to do. With substantial money and power at stake, Romm said the merger is expected to cause a “huge war” in Washington, D.C. It could take more than a year before the federal government makes its final decision, and the corporations’ political ties could complicate the issue. “The Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal really illuminates that there might be too much money in politics. Some of the folks at the very top levels of government have close connections to these companies,” he said. For example, Comcast’s Executive VP David Cohen has helped raise money for President Barack Obama in the past, according to Romm. “There’s a pretty close relationship between Comcast and the White House. So if you think there’s enough money here, you’re probably going to look at this deal with a skeptical eye.” (KUOW)

We’re excited that now, with X1, Common Sense Media ratings are more deeply integrated into the Xfinity TV experience.  Families can now use Common Sense Media ratings to filter age-appropriate content for live programming in addition to On Demand and online. Within the “Kids Guide” view, families can ensure that kids only have access to age-appropriate content. For example, preschoolers will see Sesame Street (rated for age 3), but they would not find Austin & Ally (rated for kids 7+).  Our mission at Common Sense Media is to empower kids and families with the information they need to make great media and technology choices and we’re thrilled that Comcast Xfinity TV is making our tools and resources more readily available for millions of families across the country. (Comcast)

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