Re "A media behemoth," Feb. 14
The proposed merger of Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Cable is unthinkable. For federal regulators, it should be dead on arrival.
It is an example of media consolidation at its worst. The beneficiaries would be Comcast and Time Warner Cable, period. Consumers would be the big losers.
To mitigate any negative effects on the public, Congress should pass legislation that mandates a la carte pricing for cable programming, allowing consumers to pay for only the channels they want. Realizing that the average cable consumer watches only 17 channels each month but has to pay for many more, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has introduced badly needed a la carte cable legislation.
Consumers are fed up with skyrocketing cable prices. The federal government needs to study the reasons why effective cable competition has not materialized, how to control escalating prices and how to compel cable providers to offer a basic package at an affordable rate.
The writer is a former San Diego County cable TV commissioner.
Critics of the proposed Comcast-Time Warner merger are perhaps not seeing the big picture. For those of us who work in the industry, the deal will likely bring more diverse programming to consumers.
Comcast has been a good friend and ally to the independent programming community, bringing unique content to an underserved audience.
It has long supported emerging independent networks like my own Ovation, TVOne and others.
In the case of Ovation, Comcast recognized the arts didn't have a meaningful presence in their various markets. So seven years ago, despite changing economics, regulatory pressures and a deep recession, Comcast launched the only arts network in America.
Recently, Comcast gave a commitment to 10 new cable networks (the majority of them being minority- or women-owned), and moved quickly into digital to free up channel space for the next generation of innovative and independent programmers.
This merger will be a boon for unique, independent programmers.
The writer is Ovation's chief executive.