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Cable Technology Feature Article

May 10, 2010

Comcast Seeks to Sell One of NBC Universal's Three Local TV Stations in Los Angeles

By Patrick Barnard, Senior Web Editor, TMCnet

To help smooth approval for its proposed merger with NBC Universal (News - Alert), which has been the subject of an anti-trust investigation by the Justice Department and considerable debate on Capitol Hill, Comcast (News - Alert) Corp. is reportedly planning to sell one of NBC Universal's three local TV stations in Los Angeles.

The independent Spanish-language station, KWHY, is affiliated with NBC Universal's Telemundo network. Published reports do not indicate how much Comcast is asking for the station - or whether it is even likely it will find a buyer.

Comcast is also reportedly attempting to build support in Washington for its proposed $30 billion merger with NBC Universal Inc. with the release of two new economic reports.

The reports, paid for by Comcast, were submitted Wednesday to the Federal Communications Commission, which had requested them. Comcast spokeswoman Sena Fitzmaurice declined to say how much the cable giant paid.

In one report, Comcast explains that its Internet video service is complementary to its traditional cable TV service, so the proposed Comcast-NBCU deal would not limit competition.

In the second report, Comcast explains that the merger will benefit consumers by making it easier for it to develop new TV and Internet services. In effect, Comcast could more easily negotiate deals with NBCU if it owned NBCU, the report said.

Andrew Jay Schwartzman, senior vice president and policy director of Media Access Project, a nonprofit advocacy group opposed to the merger, was quick to blast the reports.

'Competition seems to flourish in Comcastland, even though cable and Internet access rates continue to increase far in excess of inflation,' he said in a statement. 'Its new analysis of online video is especially problematic in this regard. Comcast argues that the NBC network is not 'must have' programming, and asks us to believe that it would never withhold NBC or its cable networks from Internet competitors. This is not convincing.'

Patrick Barnard is a senior Web editor for TMCnet, covering call and contact center technologies. He also compiles and regularly contributes to TMCnet e-Newsletters in the areas of robotics, IT, M2M, OCS and customer interaction solutions. To read more of Patrick's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Patrick Barnard