Comcast Defends Time Warner Cable Deal, Accuses Discovery of “Extortionate Demands”

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News Posted: Wed, Sep 24 2014 3:06 PM

Comcast has accused many of its critics and rivals of “extortion” in regards to its acquisition of Time Warner Cable for $45 billion. The cable company filed a 1,000 page document with the Federal Communications Commission defending itself from the various accusations and concerns aimed at the deal. One of the most vocal businesses against the deal is Discovery Communications.

"Discovery, like many other programmers, is improperly using this proceeding to promote its own financial interests," Comcast said in its filing. "In fact, Discovery demanded unwarranted business concessions from Comcast as a condition of Discovery's non-opposition to the Transaction. Such extortionate demands are patently improper. As the self-proclaimed '#1 Pay-TV Programmer in the World,' Discovery does not need additional regulatory help to succeed in the marketplace. Its claims are baseless and should be rejected."

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Discovery expressed its concerns over the merger at a meeting with the FCC earlier this month. Today, in response to Comcast's accusations, a statement was released from Discovery chief communications officer David Leary that reads, “We stand by our concerns that Comcast could use its enhanced leverage from the proposed merger to impose onerous terms that jeopardize the ability of independent programmers like Discovery to continue investing in a diverse portfolio of content and brands. Comcast's silence on the details of key issues like program discounts, and instead, its continued strategy of intimidating voices that are not fully supportive of its position, is troubling."

Discovery’s concerns mirror those of other companies such as Netflix that are worried about the the power such a merger would give Comcast. Should the TWC deal go through, Comcast would find itself in control of about 35 percent of the country’s internet service coverage and have a presence in 16 of the 20 top cable markets as well.

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