WGA lauds collapse of Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal

Hollywood writers welcome collapse of Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal

The collapse of the Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal is a happy ending as far as Hollywood writers are concerned.

Chris Keyser, president of the union representing move and TV writers in Los Angeles, said he welcomed Comcast Corp.'s decision to pull the plug on its planned $45-billion purchase of Time Warner Cable.

"We share with our allied organizations the satisfaction of knowing that this merger has been stopped and that both the public interest and writers’ interests have been protected,” Keyser said in a statement.

The union, long a fierce opponent of media consolidation, was among a coalition of groups that had urged federal regulators to block the deal on the grounds that it would lead to fewer choices for consumers and posed a threat to writers and other content creators.

At a panel in February, Keyser raised concerns that Comcast would wring savings from its operations after the merger by paying lower rates to cable companies, potentially threatening the new "golden age of programming."

Additionally, he said, Comcast would control half of the nation's high-speed broadband market, allowing it to extract higher delivery fees from Netflix, Amazon and other new media outlets, diminishing investment in new jobs at a time when Web productions are booming, he said.

The Philadelphia-based company had disputed those claims.

“Since the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger was announced 14 months ago, the WGAW has maintained that it should not be approved because of the irreparable harm it would cause to competition, consumers and content creators," Keyser said in a statement. "In recent weeks it became clear that regulators had similar concerns."

Twitter: @rverrier

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