Josh Silver and Tim Winter made several criticisms of the Comcast-NBC Universal joint venture ("Ready to pay more for less?," Dec. 8), but offered few facts to back up those criticisms.
It's hard to see how merging Comcast and NBCU can significantly harm competition, as the two don't directly compete. Rather, combinations like this will be required to stay competitive in light of the changing content distribution/consumption landscape - increased distribution by DitecTV, DISH Network, and Verizon FiOS - not to mention millions of Internet options. The joint venture will not allow Comcast to artificially increase the market price of NBC content and thereby jack up prices for other cable and satellite carriers. NBC now charges other carriers what the market will bear, and a Comcast/NBCU combination is not big enough to change these economics.
The reflexive "all mergers are bad" mantra of the 1970s and 1980s doesn't work in a world where the old media model of ad-supported appointment viewing on a handful of channels has exploded. Regulators will likely see benefits of this merger outweigh the phantom risks.