How Comcast-NBC Deal Will Change Your TV

Better shows, worse news, straight-to-cable movies, and "TV Everywhere"

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No one's enamored of cable companies. That includes Comcast, which is so despised it was ranked the second-worst company in the U.S. and compared to Hurricane Katrina. So when Comcast secured purchase of NBC Universal this morning, many fans of NBC programming from Law & Order to Rachel Maddow fretted that Comcast would, in one way or another, ruin TV. On Tuesday we profiled what the new Comcast-NBC behemoth would look like, and we covered the initial speculation when the deal first become a possibility. Now that it's a reality, here's what people are saying about the $30 billion deal.

  • Free On-Demand!  PaidContent's Staci Kramer reports that Comcast is "promising that at least 75 percent of our On Demand programming be available to subscribers at no extra charge for the three-year period after closing and that NBCU broadcast content of the kind currently being made available at a per-episode charge on Comcast’s On Demand service will be made available at no cost to the consumer."
  • Immediate Movie-to-TV  Time's James Poniewozik speculates, "there is increasing talk about monkeying with the 'window'—that is, the amount of time you have to wait after a movie is in theaters before you can see it on demand, download it, rent it, buy it, etc. Take away the window, and the next Twilight movie becomes a high-profile Friday-night TV show. Now, there are plenty of people arguing for preserving the window, but it's already started to erode for some movies. And what studio might be especially aggressive about experimenting with it? Why, a troubled movie studio... like Universal."
  • All Content Everywhere All The Time  Yahoo Tech's Deborah Yao writes, "For entertainment viewers, the deal means Universal Pictures movies could get to cable faster. TV shows could appear on mobile phones and other devices faster as part of Comcast's plans to let viewers watch programs wherever they want. Comcast already is letting subscribers watch cable TV shows online in trials, with a nationwide launch in December."
  • Better NBC Shows Media Post's Wayne Friedman gets excited. "As a cable network, NBC would be freed up content-wise. After all, viewers were promised when the cable industry was starting up decades ago that programming would be daring and original, in part because cable shows wouldn't be restricted by FCC content and language rules. I'm not saying the freedom to curse will bring back viewers, but it'll send a creative signal to TV producers that future video content under Comcast is truly held in high regard."
  • Worse NBC News  Time's James Poniewozik adds, "This is also speculative, but the NBC affiliates—already chafing at how they were thrown under the bus by the decision to give them a weaker news lead-in with Jay Leno—probably have even more reason to be nervous about their place, their importance and their leverage in the Comcast universe. Comcast is a cable company, and is probably not inclined to be too sentimental about the legacy or value of local TV stations."
  • 'TV Everywhere'  BeetTV's Andy Plesser insists it's happening. "As the power of the broadcast networks have fallen and cable has risen, so has the emerging opportunities online and the big cable operators stand to profit in the online world.  The catalyst for the television business online will be something coined 'TV Everywhere.'"
  • Politicians Hate Comcast Too  CNET's Marguerite Reardon suggests "cable-bashing" could "undo the deal." She writes, "The biggest problem for the deal could be the fact that GE and Comcast will try to close it during a midterm election year. Politicians taking sides on Net neutrality issues and the national broadband plan may find it easy to bash Comcast. And a marriage between the nation's largest cable and Internet service provider and one of the nation's three broadcast TV stations may ignite old fights over media ownership, a la carte billing, retransmission consent, and cable prices."
  • ABC News Piles On  Correspondents from ABC News took the opportunity to poke fun at NBC. In reference to Comcast's Philadelphia headquarters, Jake Tapper tweeted, "the Comcast deal means NBC News Prez/fellow Philly boy Steve Capus will get better Phillies/Iggles/76ers tix. Curse him!!!!" John Berman cited NBC News correspondent Mark Potter, "If you are driving by Tiger Woods stakeout in FL, and angry, yell at Comcast's Mark Potter, not me."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.