As Comcast Closes NBCUniversal Deal, Groups Call For Strict Oversight
Comcast had barely inked its deal to acquire NBCUniversal Friday when groups critical of the joint venture sent a letter to federal regulators urging strict oversight of the new media giant.
"This deal is a win for Comcast, General Electric and NBC executives, and a devastating loss to everyone else, and to democracy itself," said Josh Silver, president of Free Press, an advocacy group that fought the deal. "As of today, Comcast has an Orwellian amount of control over your media experience and your wallet."
Free Press was one of more than 20 such groups that signed Saturday's letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski.
In the letter, the groups take more shots at the merger, and then vow to watch Comcast carefully and urge Genachowski to do the same.
"As organizations representing hundreds of thousands of diverse, local citizens around the country, we are pledging today to be vigorous watchdogs, monitoring this newly merged media giant, and consistent advocates for the public interest," the letter states. "We ask you to make the same pledge."
Under the deal finalized on Friday, Comcast now owns 51 percent of NBCUniversal and will manage the company while General Electric owns a 49-percent stake.
"This transaction brings together the rich traditions of some of the world's most well known and respected entertainment, news and sports brands at NBCUniversal with the technology and consumer reach of Comcast, creating the ideal entertainment and distribution company," said Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said in a statement.