Online video may be wildly popular among the Internet savvy, but it is a minor part of the TV-viewing habits of the mainstream crowd. Because online video offerings are still catching on among the masses, the US Department of Justice is considering whether the proposed Comcast/NBC merger is really meant to lock up the market and keep the competition at bay, according to insiders speaking to the Wall Street Journal. If so, the companies could find themselves subject to certain guidelines from the DoJ or an antitrust suit, though the final ruling is still a ways away.
Comcast and NBC announced their plan to join forces late last year, sparking a DoJ investigation at the beginning of 2010. Since then, there has been plenty of debate over whether such a deal would hurt the online video industry—after all, Comcast is one of the biggest content distributors in the US, and NBC is one of the biggest content producers.
Let’s have one of the largest distributors of content own one of the largest producers. Then let’s throw in a loss of net neutrality and you can easily see that Comcast would have good business reasons to make sure that NBC content was delivered over the Internet as rapidly as possible while content from competitors was slowed down.
I watched the Little League World series on ESPN and ABC, both owned by Disney. I heard the normal in-game spots for shows from ABC or ESPN (“Be sure to watch …”) but I also heard all sorts of in game spots for Disney shows that were disguised as normal content, not ads. They has songs and music videos for the teams during the games that, what a surprise, come from an upcoming DIsney show. Not ABC or ESPN but Disney’s cable channels. There were in-game cartoons from Disney shows that had no connection at all with the game.
Here we have content creators advertising and shilling for other members of the conglomerate that owns them. What happens when not only does the conglomerate own a lot of different content creators but also distributes that content?
I am not hopeful it will helpful for the customer at all.