Hulu may be price of Comcast / NBCU merger

The US Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee, is trying to impose strong conditions on the Comcast/NBCU deal, including that it divest its stake in online video site Hulu within a year. The committee has written to the FCC saying the proposed joint venture “has the potential for serious anticompetitive and anti-consumer effects in at least three respects… Those are 1) ability of competitors to access NBC broadcast and cable content, 2) the ability of “independent programmers” and diverse voices to get a platform on the combined company, and 3) the impact on online distribution.”

The Senators said that the FCC should look carefully at online content to insure the deal does nothing to “stifle, block or retard” the emergence of that outlet.

Other conditions include non-discriminatory access to any programming in which Comcast has a financial interest, binding arbirtration over any retransmission consent disputes and firewalls between the two companies to prevent sharing pricing or contract terms.

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