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Big Questions In Comcast’s Time Warner Takeover Bid

Giant Comcast moves to buy giant Time Warner Cable. Good for you? Or not? We’re on it.

In this combination of Associated Press photos, the a coaxial cable is displayed in front of the Comcast Corp. logo in Philadelphia, on Wednesday, July 30, 2008, and a Time Warner Cable truck is parked in New York on Feb. 2, 2009. Comcast Corp. announced Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, that it is buying Time Warner Cable Inc. for $45.2 billion in stock. The deal combines two of the nation's top pay TV and Internet service companies and makes Comcast, which also owns NBCUniversal, a dominant force in both creating and delivering entertainment to U.S. homes. (AP)

In this combination of Associated Press photos, the a coaxial cable is displayed in front of the Comcast Corp. logo in Philadelphia, on Wednesday, July 30, 2008, and a Time Warner Cable truck is parked in New York on Feb. 2, 2009. Comcast Corp. announced Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, that it is buying Time Warner Cable Inc. for $45.2 billion in stock. The deal combines two of the nation’s top pay TV and Internet service companies and makes Comcast, which also owns NBCUniversal, a dominant force in both creating and delivering entertainment to U.S. homes. (AP)

When the two biggest cable companies in the country get the urge to merge, everybody pays attention.  Cable is, for many, how we connect now.  To television, yes, but also through broadband connections to everything on the Internet.  Last week, giant Comcast announced a $45 billion deal to acquire giant Time Warner Cable.  There is protest all over that the deal would cost consumers, cut competition, concentrate power and slow innovation at the heart of the economy.  But Comcast argues just the opposite, and Comcast has clout.  This hour On Point:  should the federal government greenlight this mega-merger in cable?

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Shalini Ramachandran, pay TV and broadband industry reporter for The Wall Street Journal. (@ShaliniWSJ)

Porter Bibb, managing partner at the merchant bank Mediatech Capital Partners. Author of “Ted Turner: It Ain’t As Easy As It Looks.”

Craig Aaron, president and CEO of Free Press and the Free Press Action Fund. Editor of “Changing Media: Public Interest Policies for the Digital Age.” (@notaaroncraig)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Wall Street Journal: In Comcast-Time Warner Cable Deal, How Brian Roberts Bested Mentor John Malone — “Late Wednesday, Liberty executives were caught off guard to hear that Comcast had sealed a deal to buy TWC for $45.2 billion in stock, according to people involved in the talks. The deal will snatch TWC from Mr. Malone’s grasp and set Mr. Roberts up as the clear leader of an industry his mentor once dominated.”

Washington Post: Comcast, Time Warner could merge: What would happen to my service? – “It’s worth remembering that Comcast limits how much data its customers are able to stream from the Internet, while Time Warner offers unlimited Internet plans. It’s not clear what would happen to those plans, or Time Warner’s pricing structure, under the terms of the deal, but it’s possible that regulators might ask Comcast to keep that consumer-friendly unlimited option — consumer advocates are likely to bring it up in comments on the proposal.”

Chicago Tribune: Why Comcast-Time Warner deal makes sense — “In sum, the initial worries about a Comcast-Time Warner deal seem overblown. We doubt that consumers would be stuck paying more for cable and broadband service, as some critics fear. We also doubt that content providers such as ESPN or The Weather Channel (now in a standoff with satellite provider DirecTV) would lose bargaining power in their future negotiations with a combined cable behemoth.”

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  • Yar

    Tom, I live on the edge of the Internet. Cable is at my Property line but they want to charge 700+ dollars to run the 14 mile to my house. I have DSL and the service has been spotty. Net neutrality is essential for me to ever get a reliable connection. Regulation will change how the information highway adapts to increased traffic. Rural areas like mine will become a Red Box internet access type of service area unless net neutrality is required, where the latest show or movie is cached on a local server but all other traffic is routed through a small pipe.
    Is Comcast the replacement of AT&T? Maybe with the same money and political power.

    • TFRX

      Is Comcast the replacement of AT&T?

      No, but not how you think: If you mean the decades-ago Ma Bell, at least AT&T was regulated like a monopoly. We can only wish for Comcast to be subject to the same scrutiny.

      • Yar

        And as regulated monopoly is the only way the merger should be allowed to go forward. Net neutrality should be part of the regulation, along with basic information services to every household at reasonable rates and not bundled with TV.
        Common Carrier regulations.

      • Fred_in_Newton_MA

        Because of regulation, your true land line still has to have 99%+ reliability (why we kept ours until recently). And as a price of doing business, power and phone companies had to provide service to geographic areas which could never hope to be profitable.

    • William

      700 dollars is a pretty reasonable price and you should jump on it before the costs go up.

      • https://www.facebook.com/kyle.rose Kyle Rose

        Seriously: Yar, why don’t you go run a 1/4 mile of coax? Come back and tell us what it costs.

      • Don_B1

        In places like Korea and Scandinavia, faster and broader Internet service over fiber optics (no longer being built by the big ISPs – Verizon will connect you if they have fiber on your street, but no new areas are being built) for around $300/year.

        That means that on a bit for dollar basis, it costs over 15 times more here in the U.S.!

        • William

          It is odd we can’t get a better backbone to the user. Someone will have to pay for the upgrade and most Americans tend to be cheap and want “the other guy” to foot the bill.

  • carol

    Can you please help me
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  • Kevin Donnelly

    I hate to see Comcast expand. I have their service and most of the time in the cold weather, it doesn’t work. I haven’t had service for 10 days. And I’m certain that it;s their cable infrastructure that fails in below 30 degree weather. I’m here, only because of the neighbors allowed me to plug into their AT&T wifi. Comcast is certainly happy to take my money on a monthly basis, plus charge me for service calls. I’m paying a fortune for nothing.

  • Fiscally_Responsible

    As perfect an example of unhealthy and unjustified market concentration as can be seen in today’s business world. This proposed merger needs to be stopped dead in its tracks.

    • John Cedar

      I agree it needs to be stopped dead in its tracks. But what do you mean when you say “today’s business world”? Huge companies have been merging to form giant companies and conglomerates have been gobbling them up, for decades. Teddy Roosevelt would be rolling over in his grave. Billy Clinton would be lovin’ it, because his administration still holds the record for giving the green light to the largest merger of XOM.

  • gemli

    I get along fine without cable, using only an antenna for broadcast channels and buying DVDs for cable shows I want to watch. Buying the media is a LOT cheaper than paying endlessly for cable. The Internet fills in some gaps, but I don’t subscribe to any streaming service. I’d rather do without than pay hundreds to some cable monopoly for poor service. I’ve got FIOS Internet and phone, and the cost for that is outrageous, but I can’t really get around it.

    Paul Krugman in the Times has a column today that wonders why cable monopolies are being allowed to form (“Barons of Broadband”, 4/17/2014). Seems like we’ve forgotten the recent past, and the struggle we went through to prevent corporations from milking us dry.

    Also there’s a great interview on NPR’s All Tech Considered that contrasts the miserable service and high cost Americans pay for Internet service compared to other countries. It’ll make you shake your head in disbelief:

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2014/02/06/272480919/when-it-comes-to-high-speed-internet-u-s-falling-way-behind

  • LinRP

    This is an absolute OUTRAGE. No, no, and no.

    Because of the already near-monopoly Comcast has, the US is light years behind cities like Seoul and Stockholm in providing high-speed, high-capacity networks. For about $25 a month their citizens get gigabits symmetrical service, which is 100 times faster than the very fastest connection here–and for a 17th of the price.

    And we want more of that?

    This is the most astonishing part….

    You know that due to a recent court decision, Internet service
    providers, primarily cable companies like Comcast, are not required to treat all websites equally. Legally, they can make deals to provide faster service to some, or slow down sites that refuse to pay them extra fees.

    Why, for example, do you have to wait for YouTube videos to buffer?

    Harvard Law Professor Susan Crawford in her book “Captive Audience” explains, “You may think it’s YouTube application. You may think there is something wrong with your computer. It’s probably the network provider making life unpleasant for YouTube because YouTube has refused to pay in order to
    cross its wires to reach you. And we’ll be seeing much more of that kind of activity in the future.”

    Internet should be regulated as a common carrier like utilities, NOT be made into larger, more impenetrable monopolies Internet is no longer a “luxury” in this day and age. It’s every bit as necessary as electricity in the home, and should be regulated as such. NOW.

    Why Susan Crawford is not on this show is beyond me. You can find her interview here, Fascinating. http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2014/02/06/272480919/when-it-comes-to-high-speed-internet-u-s-falling-way-behind

  • MOFYC

    Who could possibly be for it, other than the two companies’ shareholders? The two largest telecom giants in the country, each with abysmal customer service, forming a near monopoly to punish the customers even more.

  • Coastghost

    Distinctly odd that NO ONE even contemplates the (admittedly unlikely) possibility that mass defections from all electronic media could take hold in coming years.
    Disaffection with internet monitoring, disgust with incessant media commercialism, eagerness to forge social ties locally instead of remotely could all help lead to a mass exodus from excremental television/cable/satellite fare (yes, I’m at least half-dreaming because I’ve had only one cup of coffee, but even without my full complement of caffeine, I’m ALL for the repudiation of television).

    • MrNutso

      I’m wondering at what point wireless (cell) service will be fast enough and broad enough to obviate the need for Comcast and Verizon.

  • Michiganjf

    This merger is BAD NEWS for consumers AND content providers!

    I’ll never use Time Warner or Comcast again if this deal goes through.

    I switched recently from TW to ATT U-VERSE… I couldn’t be happier.

    The WIRELESS ATT boxes are AWESOME! They are light years beyond Time Warners crappy receivers, in terms of capabilities and ease of use. I was immediately amazed by how much better designed the interface is on the new ATT boxes. I watched their deals for a couple of years now, and none quite lived up to what I wanted. ATT just hooked our neighborhood up with fiber optic, however, and went door-to-door offering great deals and capabilities… I signed up without hesitation, long sick of Time Warner’s sub-par service.

    If ATT upgrades your neighborhood to Fiber Optic, give it a go… you’ll be amazed what a well-thought-out, modern system is capable of.

  • Coastghost

    Arguably, TELEVISION ITSELF is not in the public interest. All that sonic and visual pollution, all that senseless energy consumption, all the creepy political and social propaganda . . . .

    • northeaster17

      True but the bundling of the
      internet with the old fashioned TV is the real prize.

  • John_in_VT

    Of course this will go through. I maintain that we are the path to forming the American version of Japans ‘Seven Sisters.’ These are the seven major corporation that own or control Japan’s manufacturing. These big mergers are leading us back to the days of the big monopolies. It is being done by the very characters that bloviate about free markets and the power of competition to bring about innovation.

  • jefe68

    It’s all about the bottom line, maximizing the shareholders profits as was stated, and nothing to do with consumers. Other than having the ability to charge what they want and with lousy consumer service.

    • northeaster17

      Absolutely correct. They don’t even try to hide it. And yet we still have to fight this stuff since our regulatory agencies are bought up lock stock and barrel by the ones who need to be regulated.

      • jefe68

        It’s the new era of the robber barons.

        • Coastghost

          But barons will rob only to the extent that Americans decide they have to be entertained to death. Barons would be robbing no one if Americans pulled the plug on all the nonsense TV spews minute by minute and cancelled all or most of their media subscriptions. (I mean: we CAN live without television: and I argue we all could live quite well without television.)

          • jefe68

            You need to read some history.
            This is not about TV or cable by the way.
            It’s about the future of how content, and that’s all content, is delivered.
            Think Ma Bell.

            You can’t get a job today without an internet connection. In some ways what’s happening is akin to the era of Ma Bell and before that how electricity was implemented. There was a time when 70 percent of the farming communities in this nation had no electricity. Comcast has no incentive to hook up rural or even poor neighborhoods in urban areas.

          • Coastghost

            When I hear you say “Ma Bell”, instead I think “Amazon” or “Wal-Mart”.
            Quality of content is also being sidestepped broadly in the discussion Tom Ashbrook is leading.

  • MOFYC

    The reason no one accepts Porter Bibb’s claim that a merger
    will provide the FCC with a “leverage point” to regulate is that no one
    believes in the regulatory effectiveness of our federal government anymore,
    because it’s been so fundamentally corrupted by the influence of campaign “donations.”

  • AlanThinks

    Comcast is a predatory liar. Several years ago I had Verizon FIOS but was lured to a lower cost Comcast offer on their claim that Xfinity was as fast (supposedly using fiber optic too) and that if I was not satisfied I could cancel within one month for no cost. The same day xfinity was installed I could not get telephone access and my Internet was markedly slower. Comcast sent the tech back once but he could not solve the problem so I went back to Verizon and canceled the Comcast. Comcast continued to bill me despite acknowledging my cancellation and sent the bill to a collection agency. I say, break up Comcast!

  • coyotejazz

    As some have said, this merger is about broadband. As Tom has pointed out, we are already light years behind other nations in this arena. Significant parts of the US cannot access real broadband. The issue of speed has not even appeared on the horizon absent this basic service. I live in a northern state having recently moved from a southern state where, in both locales, so-called high speed internet (not broadband) is only available via very costly satellite service. We have a “last mile” problem in much of extra-urban America. National business and political leaders seem to have written off much of the country as economically irrelevant. The agricultural sector in many parts of the country lies outside of the zone of relevance. When telecom moves fully to broadband, you will be able to write off entire sections of the country once and for all if something is not done.

  • John Doty

    The Comcast/Time Warner merger will not be good for the internet. First of all, they are Corporations and their only concern is shareholder return, not providing the best service possible. We cannot get Comcast without paying them $55K to run a line down the road to our house. They only partially covered our town in northern Vermont after the state forced them to install cable in un / under served areas within the state.

    No one will become a competitor to Comcast because they will fight anyone who tries to install their own network and Comcast has enough money and lawyers to block any competitors.

    Content production should be separated from distribution and distribution should be regulated by the government as other utilities are/were regulated.

    If the government had not gotten involved with Electric companies and phone companies, we would still not have electricity or phone because it is not “economically viable”.

  • Coastghost

    Nota bene: “On Point” is NOT advocating that Americans flee from television en masse. No: the default position under discussion is who provides which service for how much: why does “On Point” NOT spend at least a few seconds disabusing listeners of their media addictions?

    • Euphoriologist

      Because the discussion is not about television. It’s about un-fettered internet access to all Americans at non-monopoly rates, which is much more important to modern life than access to HBO. You’re so hung up about TV that you seem to have totally forgotten to listen to what everyone’s rightfully worried about. Please try to stay “On Point.”

      • Coastghost

        Most/Many of the “cables” under discussion still connect to television sets, even with the advent of the internet. Whatever I say against TV applies equally to the internet, which has become its own wasteland in a scant two decades.
        Content provision could well have become part of this discussion: that it was not broached suggests public broadcasting’s interest in continuing to provide a default media diet, which I argue is not nutritious and is in fact deleterious to social and political health.

        • Euphoriologist

          I couldn’t agree with you more about the deleterious media diet of most Americans. But it’s hard to argue against the free market providing consumers what they want. No one’s forcing people to watch trashy reality shows or read Buzzfeed every day.

          But you have to realize any solution will necessarily involve bipartisan government regulation of content, because media companies have zero incentive to stop their race to the bottom.

          I would support a sort of reverse net-neutrality where content from valuable public goods like NPR and PBS is further subsidized and prioritized over all other channels. Consumers would still have the choice to ignore it, but at least let’s make these public resources guaranteed free and fast forever should people seek them out. Wouldn’t it be nice to get rid of the underwriting announcements every 15 minutes? UK’s BBC doesn’t have to resort to this, because they’re properly funded.

          Unfortunately, for more than a decade, Republicans have waged war on institutions like NPR and PBS. Their message to American families seems to be: Less Reporting. Less Analysis. Less Arts. More sex! More violence! More Miley! Until they change their mind about public broadcasting, I’m afraid that’s the type of programming Americans will continue to get by default.

          • Coastghost

            We agree and disagree. What I don’t agree with here is your contention that ONLY some manner of govt. regulation could address the problem.
            A broad-based cultural and social revulsion against our mass media would not require govt. intervention whatsoever: but public broadcasters are doing NOTHING to lead (or even contribute to) such a public revolt.
            (Note, id est, public broadcasters’ comfort level with the status quo.)

  • Chuck

    I don’t hear one consumer supporting this, and agree that its all about broadband. This is the best example of capitalism’s greed getting in the way of what is possible – innovation and technology that already exists but is not accessible due to Profit being the driving factor. As a consumer I’m mostly interested in best broadband service for the lowest cost (w/ no strings or add ons).

    • https://www.facebook.com/kyle.rose Kyle Rose

      The profit motive is what creates business: without the potential for profit, you would not have an internet. It likely would still be a research project limited to universities and with none of the services you have come to rely on it for.

      The problem here is one created by governments that have given themselves the sole power to license ISPs to run cable to residential homes: in most cases, these are sweetheart deals between municipalities and a single cable company, the latter of which gets a monopoly in exchange for indirectly lining the pockets of government officials through influence peddling. End these monopolies, and free-market competition will give you better service at a reasonable price.

      • Chuck

        Your points are taken. I agree with your point above as well regarding competition, and while my comment implies it (sorry), I’m not anti-profit and realize how free markets can drive innovation. Its a shame money talks (BigTeleco lobby) to governments more than consumers – so it feels the ideal of competition driving down pricing simply unable to happen.

  • Richard from Amherst

    Tom: Please raise in the discussion the issue of incumbant telecommunications and cable companies like Comcast and ATT working with American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) working to stifle competition for Municipal Broadband Projects by promoting legislation against publicly owned broadband projects. Like Chattanooga Tenn or what we are doing here in Western Massachusetts.

    Fully municipally owned and operated municipal broadband is the solution for the monopoly or duolopy that exists in most of the country. Municipal Broaband and Voice over IP telephone can offer low cost high speed internet at the cost of municipal bond interest, maintenance and oprating costs and eliminate the explotive chage what ever the traffic will bear provide the least quality service viable package the incumbants are currently providing.

    Here in rural Western Massachusetts Comcast and Verizon will not serve our communities because we are not profitable enough
    We need to support rural development by Muni Broadband

    • Don_B1

      Absolutely!

      And it is not just profitability, it is the HIGH profitability that the big-Cable companies have come to expect because they have been able to rent-seek their way into monopolies where their competition is weak.

      Bottom line: the ISPs can provide service with profits but not the excessive profits they demand. So they just don’t.

  • https://www.facebook.com/kyle.rose Kyle Rose

    If you want a better residential internet access experience, there is only thing that will guarantee results: competition. Make it so any schlub with a truck and a spool of cable can string up cables on telephone poles. Once there is a ton of competition in the residential ISP space, prices will plummet and speeds and service will vastly improve. Everything else just gives more power to politicians and/or Big Telco, and will not give you the results you want.

  • tbphkm33

    People, relax – the results of this mega merger are preordained. Conveniently, cable companies have the country carved up, in no markets do they compete. Its sort of like communism, one flavor available. The system works great, I read an article last week that claimed cable sees a 90% profit rate… that’s a freaking miracle which can only be brought to you by crony capitalism.

    Now, don’t worry – the corporate oligarchy is watching out for you, the consumer, with its own bill of rights. You have the right to pay more for the new cable plans. You have the right not to realize you are getting less service for more money. You have the right to sit on your phone for hours on end only to discover big cable are not willing to solve your problem. You have the right to believe big cable propaganda that free over the air broadcasts are no long available.

    The best right the consumer has is to reject the service. Who needs 200 channels of nothing but mindless TV to watch? Why spend 1/3 of the time surfing channels to find something to watch. Cancel cable, save that on average $107 per month. Stream Netflix, put up an antenna, pick up a book. Spend more time outside and get in shape. Why believe this propaganda that it is impossible to live without TV???

  • Human2013

    It’s capitalsim, folks.
    I can make this same response to 75% of Tom’s broadcasts. Next up, “Obesity in America” and suing BIG food — that’s capitalism; quantity, not quality.

    • William

      Well…at least there is a cable system…if it was Socialism there would be no cable system except for the elites running the show.

      • Human2013

        Good point. If didn’t have cable television maybe we would be moving around and avoiding obesity like the next discussion. Maybe we wouldn’t be so drugged up on anti-drepessants because we would be exposed to the sun, people and physical activity.

  • John Alexander

    I believe this should be consider as a public utility and regulated. We lost” OPEN Range” service from this area in Ohio, Now I wonder if it was part of the a grand plan for complete control of internet access, completely by large companies, simply on the premise of control and, stockholder returns on investment. This truely is a matter of Global access, and we should follow the lead of the European Nations .

  • gron

    Not about competition? There’s already little choice in internet
    providers. If I want “high” speed internet in my area, I already have only one choice, Comcast (DSL speeds don’t compare). This just makes it less likely that I will ever have a choice. This is all in addition to the fact that Comcast is consistently rated as having some of the worst customer service in the US (and my experience with them confirms this). Sounds like a lose/lose proposition for “almost” everyone.

  • https://www.facebook.com/kyle.rose Kyle Rose

    Just now able to listen to the first part of the show. Porter is a jackass: it was only after the Bell System was broken up in 1984 that innovation in residential telecommunication took off. If AT&T were still a government-regulated monopoly, we’d all still be talking on wired telephones and paying $0.50/minute for “long distance”, and online interaction would still be BBSes running on dial-up modems.

    • Don_B1

      But now the big Cable companies are acting in mostly the same way, with the exception that they are NOT making the needed technology investments that “MaBell” did with Bell Laboratories. They are simply squeezing every aspect of their business to increase their bottom line, which meets the economic definition of “rent-seeking” activity. And that leads to NO IMPROVEMENT in Internet innovation developed in the U.S. We will be paying patent fees to foreign-owned companies for eons because of that.

      • https://www.facebook.com/kyle.rose Kyle Rose

        Who’s defending the status quo? What we need isn’t a return to the days of Ma Bell, which is what we’re getting with government regulations that directly stifle competition by keeping smaller players out of the market for delivering service to the last mile.

        • Don_B1

          I certainly am not defending the status quo, I was just saying that today is even worse than in the days of Ma Bell.

          Also, read this;

          http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/02/15/monoposony-begets-monopoly-and-vice-versa/?module=BlogPost-Title&version=Blog%20Main&contentCollection=Opinion&action=Click&pgtype=Blogs&region=Body

          • https://www.facebook.com/kyle.rose Kyle Rose

            And I disagree, and the facts are firmly on my side.

            We now have residential high-speed internet and wireless digital communication, both things that would not have happened were AT&T still the government-blessed monopoly over all residential telecommunication. The breakup of the Bell System and the end of its artificial monopoly fostered the competition that resulted in such radical advances in service.

            Now we’re back in a similar position as Big Telco colludes with government to protect their profits at the expense of progress. Something has to give again, and I’d argue it’s competition in the last mile: deregulate that and let anyone with a dollar and a dream start their own residential ISP, and watch innovation happen again.

            Also, in all seriousness, never refer to Paul Krugman in an argument in which you want to be taken seriously. :-)

  • ImIsobel

    You guys be careful what you allow in The States! You don’t want it to be like Australia where Rupert Murdoch’s empire controls it ALL. They dominate cable television. Competition hardly exists here! The internet is in the stone age; short of dial-up. You have very little competition for internet service, you generally have a data cap each month too and all you really have in 95% of the country is ADSL, and it is ALL overpriced, it is DISMAL and short of 3rd world here. I think the merger for the US is a terrible idea, before you know it, you will have the same problems I’m finding here with limited competition. I never appreciated the options I had in NYC until I moved here.

  • LoganEcholls

    R.I.P.

    Here lies the ruins of a free market system that began in democracy & entrepreneurial vitality, and ended in corruption, monopoly, and oligarchy.

    1776-2014

  • Kim Duncan Skidmore

    It would be wise to take a look at what happened to Altell customer’s unlimited internet download plans after Verizon bought Altell out. Grandfathered in until one needed to replace a phone on the account and, with only 4G available now, unlimited internet download goes the way of the dinosaurs!

  • andic_epipedon

    Tom. I listened to the Diane Rheme Show on this and for the first time I think you guys both did an equally good job and covered slightly different issues.

  • andic_epipedon

    Thanks to the guest who brought up the vertical monopoly of Comcast/NBC and programming. I’m losing my taste for the one cable channel, ScyFy, that I ever considered purchasing. The quality of programming on ScyFy has gone down over the last ten years. They are only willing to have one high budget, whatever that means, at a time show. They have axed Warehouse 13 which is most likely past its due date, but they aren’t going to replace it with anything because they say Defiance costs so much money to make. HBO manages to make one blockbuster show after another without any problems. What’s NBC’s damage over ScyFy channel. I think Comcast is just stealing people’s money and that is why I am not a subscriber. And I have heard the story that half the money is going to ESPN, but my question is where does the rest of it go?

  • andic_epipedon

    I’m more concerned about the internet than I am about cable. It is concerning to me that most of the callers were focused on cable content. The internet to me is not just entertainment through Netflix, but a gateway to self-expression, an avenue to start a business, a way of educating myself, to find volunteer opportunities, a directory, a news service, a way of organizing activities and a way of staying in touch with friends. Why do I pay $85 a month for 50mbps when folks I’ve met in Europe are talking about gigabytes for less money?

  • Regular_Listener

    As somebody who dropped cable TV years ago because of high prices, too much advertising, and poor service options, and now only uses the internet, I’m against this, without a doubt. There is no way that this would benefit the American consumer. It would certainly benefit Comcast & Time-Warner, and put their new company in a position to dominate the internet in the USA. Is this really what we need, at a time when the internet is growing more and more important and becoming more of an essential thing that people need in order to function in our society? Do we need a Standard Oil or AT&T of the internet, or do we need competition and choices for consumers? Apparently the USA, the nation that invented the internet, is already falling behind other nations, and people here are paying the highest prices in the world for mediocre service. This merger would make that situation worse.

  • Regular_Listener

    Make no mistake, regardless of what people like Mr. Bibb or the president of Comcast say, this is an attempt by these corporate titans to seize as much control as they can over the internet (and cable TV), and thus the future.

ONPOINT
TODAY
Jul 28, 2014
This June 4, 2014 photo shows a Walgreens retail store in Boston. Walgreen Co. _ which bills itself as “America’s premier pharmacy” _ is among many companies considering combining operations with foreign businesses to trim their tax bills. (AP)

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U.S. Secretary of War Newton D. Baker watches as wounded American soldiers arrive at an American hospital near the front during World War I. (AP Photo)

Marking the one hundredth anniversary of the start of World War One. We’ll look at lessons learned and our uneasy peace right now.

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Jul 25, 2014
Pallbearers carry a coffin out of a military transport plane during a ceremony to mark the return of the first bodies, of passengers and crew killed in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, from Ukraine at Eindhoven military air base, Eindhoven, Netherlands, Wednesday, July 23, 2014. (AP)

Secretary of State Kerry to Israel. Obamacare back in the courts. Mourning as remains of Malaysia Flight 17 victims come home. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: July 25, 2014
Friday, Jul 25, 2014

Why the key to web victory is often taking a break and looking around, and more pie for your viewing (not eating) pleasure.

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The Art Of The American Pie: Recipes
Friday, Jul 25, 2014

In the odd chance that our pie hour this week made you hungry — how could it not, right? — we asked our piemaking guests for some of their favorite pie recipes. Enjoy!

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Hillary Clinton: ‘The [Russian] Reset Worked’
Thursday, Jul 24, 2014

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton took time out of her global book tour to talk to us about Russia, the press and the global crises shaking the administration she left two years ago.

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