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Old 03-06-2014, 02:28 PM   #1
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Comcast-TWC merger could mean new cable company

Instead of selling 3 million subscribers to some other cable company, Comcast-TWC may spin them off as yet another cable company.

http://arstechnica.com/business/2014...cable-company/

That article references this one:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-0...rner-deal.html

and they say the spin-off would be a new publicly traded company.

Supposedly this would get them the most money for their shareholders for "selling" those customers, but they might be able to convince the shareholders that a quick sale to a single party instead of going through the whole IPO mess might get the merger approved more quickly.

I'd like to see TiVo buy those soon-to-be-kicked-to-the-curb households and show everyone what a TiVo-friendly cable regime is like.


Of course this completely ignores the question of whether all the local franchising authorities are just going to rubber-stamp the franchises changing hands. With enough local pressure, some might even grab the opportunity to renegotiate to make things better for the community.
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Old 03-06-2014, 04:46 PM   #2
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How nice for Comcast. They will buy TWC and then dump...er, I mean sell their 3 million most unprofitable customers into a new company loaded down with debt from the purchase that is doomed to fail.
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Old 03-06-2014, 05:18 PM   #3
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They could also foist off all the old crappy equipment on the new company and keep all the shiny new stuff for themselves. Brilliant idea! Sure to land Comcast on next year's list of the "most admired" companies.
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Old 03-06-2014, 05:33 PM   #4
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How much do you want to bet that Comcast stacks the new board of directors of this supposedly independent company with their hand-picked candidates?
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Old 03-06-2014, 06:40 PM   #5
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How much do you want to bet that Comcast stacks the new board of directors of this supposedly independent company with their hand-picked candidates?
Agree. Spinning the assets off into a brand new company probably makes it a lot easier for Comcast to come back in the next ~5 years (or whenever they think they can get away with it) to swallow the new company right back up.

I wonder which TWC regions are being considered to be spun off.
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Old 03-06-2014, 07:20 PM   #6
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I wonder which TWC regions are being considered to be spun off.
The least profitable ones and the ones whose networks are in the worst condition of disrepair.
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Old 03-07-2014, 11:42 AM   #7
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The least profitable ones and the ones whose networks are in the worst condition of disrepair.
Oh, so you mean ours here in HI.....great! :-/
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Old 03-10-2014, 09:21 PM   #8
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This makes no sense... it's not like they compete anyways and have to spin off competitive markets. I think part of the merger deal should be that every zip code and municipality currently served by Comcast or TWC should have to get a 100% build-out, and all systems should have the same offerings as the best do today. Of course that will never happen with our corrupt, wet-noodle regulators.
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Old 03-11-2014, 02:15 PM   #9
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This makes no sense... it's not like they compete anyways
Man, you're still repeating this lie? Didn't we already correct you on this? Are you getting paid by someone in the TWC/Comcast lobbying arm? There's no incentive for you to keep repeating this lie after it was corrected.

They compete in many markets. The only market they do not directly compete in is households.
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Old 03-11-2014, 02:40 PM   #10
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Man, you're still repeating this lie? Didn't we already correct you on this? Are you getting paid by someone in the TWC/Comcast lobbying arm? There's no incentive for you to keep repeating this lie after it was corrected.
They do not compete in a legal sense. "We" did not correct him; you have your (incorrect) opinion, but that doesn't warrant calling anybody a liar.
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Old 03-11-2014, 06:32 PM   #11
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Man, you're still repeating this lie? Didn't we already correct you on this? Are you getting paid by someone in the TWC/Comcast lobbying arm? There's no incentive for you to keep repeating this lie after it was corrected.

They compete in many markets. The only market they do not directly compete in is households.
What markets? They don't have the same territory. What should be broken up is the Comcast/NBCU thing. That's just a mess of conflicts of interest. Give them TWC, let them rescue the poor souls on TWC, but make them divest NBCU...
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Old 03-11-2014, 07:11 PM   #12
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This makes no sense... it's not like they compete anyways
By this logic, we should let all of the cable companies merge together into one giant nationwide cable company. Just imagine the economies of scale that would be achieved.
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Old 03-11-2014, 07:25 PM   #13
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Here's a couple maps showing their footprints:

http://mashable.com/2014/02/13/comca...-coverage-map/
http://money.cnn.com/infographic/new...-coverage-map/
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Old 03-12-2014, 06:42 PM   #14
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By this logic, we should let all of the cable companies merge together into one giant nationwide cable company. Just imagine the economies of scale that would be achieved.
Why not? You just can't include RCN and other overbuilders, as they actually compete... As long as they weren't vertically integrated with content, it might get them the power to finally reign the out of control content providers back in.
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Old 03-12-2014, 06:53 PM   #15
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Why not? You just can't include RCN and other overbuilders, as they actually compete... As long as they weren't vertically integrated with content, it might get them the power to finally reign the out of control content providers back in.
Ummm, what about NBC Universal? I assume Comcast will have to sell that off before they will be allowed to buy TWC, right?
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Old 03-13-2014, 09:21 AM   #16
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What markets? They don't have the same territory. What should be broken up is the Comcast/NBCU thing. That's just a mess of conflicts of interest. Give them TWC, let them rescue the poor souls on TWC, but make them divest NBCU...
They compete on content purchasing, they compete on hardware design and supply, they compete at the regulatory level, they compete on internet service contracts (peering agreements, internal hosting of streaming services, etc), they compete on pricing even when they aren't in the same areas ("I see prices in CA and I lobby my local franchising authority to pressure my CC into offering the same prices")...

Saying "they don't compete" is an absolute fabrication. It is not true.

If you want to be really specific and say "they do not compete directly in customer households" then by all means, say that. But you CANNOT say "they don't compete."

This would be like saying the Broncos and 49ers "don't compete" because the Broncos are in Denver and the 49ers are in... wherever they are now (Is the new field in SF? I don't even remember anymore). They still compete for national recognition, jersey sales, directly on the field, etc etc etc.

It's misleading. If you did it once on accident, I'd correct you and move on. But this has been corrected repeatedly, and anyone still repeating it is doing so out of malice at this point.
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Old 03-13-2014, 09:22 AM   #17
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They do not compete in a legal sense.
Cite?
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Old 03-13-2014, 09:45 AM   #18
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It's misleading. If you did it once on accident, I'd correct you and move on. But this has been corrected repeatedly, and anyone still repeating it is doing so out of malice at this point.
Again, Baloney!

It has not been "corrected" - you have stated your opinion and others choose not to go with your definitions. My opinion is that they do not compete, in the senses I mean. You are totally wrong when you state I am doing this out of malice. Please prove that I am doing it out of malice or stop making such claims about everybody who disagrees with you.

Legal competition needs a defined market. Do you deny that?

Do you and I compete for oxygen in the atmosphere? If your answer is yes, then I would claim your definition of competition is so broad as to be useless.
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Old 03-13-2014, 10:45 AM   #19
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As far as I know, I don't compete with any of you in March Madness bracket pools. There are myriad areas where competition can occur. The one that counts for this thread is what competition there is for providing me with cable TV service. There is none now (only TWC) and regardless of how this merger comes out it won't change that. We're too small a market to attract more than one provider. That won't change any time soon, and I think this situation applies to a large majority of cable TV markets.

So go ahead and debate the nuances of defining competition. It's not relevant to most of us.
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Old 03-13-2014, 11:35 AM   #20
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Why not? You just can't include RCN and other overbuilders, as they actually compete... As long as they weren't vertically integrated with content, it might get them the power to finally reign the out of control content providers back in.
The larger a company becomes, the less they care about the consumer. That's why monopolies are bad and why Ma Bell was broken up. Currently Comcast may offer you an incentive to stay if you threaten to cancel service. The larger they get, the less likely that is to occur. Same goes with bundling deals and contracts.

Not that it really matters as most large cable companies already are already in collusion (including TW and Comcast). They don't even deny this.

Even Verizon and Comcast collude. I keep getting offers to add Verizon Wireless to my Comcast plan/bill.
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Old 03-13-2014, 12:40 PM   #21
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TWC & Comcast Merger Effect on Copy Protection

Wondering what if any change of policy might come about as a result of the merger, do present Comcast subscribers suffer the same almost blanket inability to transfer/stream limitations that current TWC subs endure .
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Old 03-13-2014, 01:07 PM   #22
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Wondering what if any change of policy might come about as a result of the merger, do present Comcast subscribers suffer the same almost blanket inability to transfer/stream limitations that current TWC subs endure .
No, they don't. Comcast only protects the premium channels. Though I do have to wonder which company will influence the other on this. Will Comcast's looser policy ever trickle out to former Time Warner customers, or will Time Warner's stricter policy infect Comcast's way of thinking on this issue. It remains to be seen which company's policy will be retained in the event of a merger.

This is an open question on other issues as well. Time Warner allows the use of Roku apps, such as HBOGO, Showtime Anytime, WatchESPN, as well as a TWC Roku app where you can access on demand titles and live TV streams through your Roku. Comcast allows nothing at all to work with Roku. Will these Roku services currently available to Time Warner customers suddenly be cut off after the merger?

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Old 03-13-2014, 02:22 PM   #23
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Legal competition needs a defined market.
Cite?

You keep saying this, and I keep calling you on it, and you keep redirecting. I'm going to keep calling you on it, over and over, until enough people have realized that you have no basis for saying it.
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Old 03-13-2014, 04:19 PM   #24
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No, they don't. Comcast only protects the premium channels. Though I do have to wonder which company will influence the other on this. Will Comcast's looser policy ever trickle out to former Time Warner customers, or will Time Warner's stricter policy infect Comcast's way of thinking on this issue. It remains to be seen which company's policy will be retained in the event of a merger.

This is an open question on other issues as well. Time Warner allows the use of Roku apps, such as HBOGO, Showtime Anytime, WatchESPN, as well as a TWC Roku app where you can access on demand titles and live TV streams through your Roku. Comcast allows nothing at all to work with Roku. Will these Roku services currently available to Time Warner customers suddenly be cut off after the merger?
The Roku one is bizarre. I think Comcast will move TWC to the more open system of flagging, as they support TiVo to the extent that they will make money, and if it's one more differentiator from satellite, then they will keep TiVo support working well, and without copy flags.

They might roll some of TWC's technology into the X1 or XFinity online types of services, but that will probably take time.

WatchESPN on Comcast works on the Roku, because it's done through a website with ESPN and a confirmation code thing, not through Comcast on the Roku directly.
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Old 03-13-2014, 05:02 PM   #25
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I'm not too concerned about competition in the TV space. They do have Dish and DirecTV keeping prices in check and in reality it's just entertainment and not required for daily life.

I'm much more concerned about the internet portion. In most areas the cable company is the only viable choice for broadband internet. DSL is too slow and unreliable and cellular is too expensive and has low data caps. With the reliance we now have on the internet in our daily lives it concerns me that one company could control such a large portion of internet service in this country. In my opinion internet should be deemed a utility and regulated as such. These days it's almost as important to daily life as power or natural gas, and way more important then copper phone lines which are still regulated as a utility.
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Old 03-14-2014, 04:16 PM   #26
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I'm not too concerned about competition in the TV space. They do have Dish and DirecTV keeping prices in check and in reality it's just entertainment and not required for daily life.

I'm much more concerned about the internet portion. In most areas the cable company is the only viable choice for broadband internet. DSL is too slow and unreliable and cellular is too expensive and has low data caps. With the reliance we now have on the internet in our daily lives it concerns me that one company could control such a large portion of internet service in this country. In my opinion internet should be deemed a utility and regulated as such. These days it's almost as important to daily life as power or natural gas, and way more important then copper phone lines which are still regulated as a utility.
I totally agree with that. However, I don't see TWC and Comcast merging having a material effect on the internet space, as they don't compete with each other, and they are often monopolies now. If anything, it would put Comcast up against FIOS and/or RCN in more places. They are in a strange position where they compete in some markets, and some parts of some markets (and in U-Verse territory, some parts of some streets), but not in others.
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Old 03-14-2014, 04:21 PM   #27
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I'm not too concerned about competition in the TV space. They do have Dish and DirecTV keeping prices in check
Until the right politicians/regulators get paid off to allow Dish and DirecTV to merge. I can just hear the arguments now. "You let Comcast/Time Warner merge and now they have become too big for us to effectively compete against. We have to be allowed to merge too so we will be able to stay competitive with the Comcast/Time Warner monster that you created."
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Old 03-14-2014, 04:59 PM   #28
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I totally agree with that. However, I don't see TWC and Comcast merging having a material effect on the internet space, as they don't compete with each other, and they are often monopolies now. If anything, it would put Comcast up against FIOS and/or RCN in more places. They are in a strange position where they compete in some markets, and some parts of some markets (and in U-Verse territory, some parts of some streets), but not in others.
Yes but with one company controlling such a large part of the ISP business they could effectively put small startups out of business if they want. With the net neutrality stuff getting struck down they have a ton of control over which websites their customers are allowed to access and at what speed.

I guess they'd have similar influence over the TV market, but the landscape for that business is already comprised of mega corporations so the chance of there being a startup media company is pretty slim already. But the web is still a place where anyone can make it big and with one company in charge of too many people's access that could change.
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Old 03-15-2014, 08:24 AM   #29
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I'm not too concerned about competition in the TV space. They do have Dish and DirecTV keeping prices in check and in reality it's just entertainment and not required for daily life.

I'm much more concerned about the internet portion. In most areas the cable company is the only viable choice for broadband internet. DSL is too slow and unreliable and cellular is too expensive and has low data caps. With the reliance we now have on the internet in our daily lives it concerns me that one company could control such a large portion of internet service in this country. In my opinion internet should be deemed a utility and regulated as such. These days it's almost as important to daily life as power or natural gas, and way more important then copper phone lines which are still regulated as a utility.
Dan hits the nail on the head with the proper solution, but the issue here is that the FCC and Congress are looking the other way while HSI is dominated by a few. This is all due to the revolving door and corporate payoffs.

The sad part of HSI dominance by Comcast frex is that they are starting to reimpose data caps and raising prices every year as more TV business goes to the net, because they want to get their money no matter what. In a competitive or regulated environment this would be tough if not impossible to do.
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Old 03-15-2014, 04:49 PM   #30
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Yes but with one company controlling such a large part of the ISP business they could effectively put small startups out of business if they want. With the net neutrality stuff getting struck down they have a ton of control over which websites their customers are allowed to access and at what speed.

I guess they'd have similar influence over the TV market, but the landscape for that business is already comprised of mega corporations so the chance of there being a startup media company is pretty slim already. But the web is still a place where anyone can make it big and with one company in charge of too many people's access that could change.
They could do that without being as big. I see your point in terms of overall market share, but I'm not convinced that their current size will stop them from doing whatever they want anyways...
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