Comcast-Disney merger would further diminish diversity

Statement by Common Cause President Chellie Pingree at Philadelphia rally against media consolidation

The proposed merger between Comcast and the Walt Disney Company provides yet another troubling example of media conglomerates compromising public interest for corporate profits. If these two companies were to merge, they would create a massive media giant that would control all of what we see and hear on TV, radio, the Internet and in the movies, as well as stymie their competitors. That would only hurt our democracy, which thrives on the exchange of diverse viewpoints and ideas.

When the FCC deregulated the telecommunications industry in 1996, consumers were promised more competition and lower prices for their telecommunications services. But that has not happened. Since 1996, the number of cable providers has fallen while monthly cable TV bills have increased a whopping 21 percent. Last year alone, rates increased at four times the overall Consumer Price Index.

A combined Comcast-Disney would bring together the largest distributor of cable TV and one of the nation’s largest producers of content. It would have the ability to favor its own programming, block competing networks or charge premium prices for them all while continuing to hike your cable bill.

Comcast is also currently the nation’s largest Internet service provider, controlling 5.3 million broadband subscribers. Comcast Disney would have the ability to deliver competitors content at slower rates and inferior quality. Even more troubling, consumers would have no way of knowing that content is being streamed in a way that favors certain channels over others.

As the line between entertainment, news, and politics continues to blur, a merger of Comcast and Disney only serves to further consolidate viewpoints into an ever more powerful provider of information.

Common Cause opposes this merger.