He said: “American Cable Association has big problems with Comcast. They say that Comcast routinely violates Antitrust Laws.”
Has anything happened recently to warrant this?The American Cable Association’s efforts, like midsize cable trade groups, are more of a future warning about Comcast Corp. -- that the company is a “threat to competition.”
Much of this isn’t new. The ACA has complained about Comcast for years, as have other trade groups, when it comes to media consolidation and prospects of hurting competition.
In a press release, the ACA talked about Comcast in regard to delay "tactics" to carry Bloomberg TV in "a news channel neighborhood with Comcast-NBCU’s CNBC." But that was news in 2012-2013. Is there anything to warrant more specific actions today?
"Now, with Comcast-NBCU 'unleashed,' the firm can act with impunity, harming consumers and rivals." The "now" part comes from expiring federal guidelines, which took effect when Comcast bought NBCUniversal in 2011. It wants the Department of Justice to open an investigation.
For its part, Comcast has responded that ACA’s move "is without merit and constitutes an inappropriate attempt to gain leverage in the commercial marketplace."
And Trump? Well, we know about his attacks on the media -- including NBC News and cable network MSNBC, which are owned by NBCUniversal. Previously, he has gone after AT&T's purchase of Time Warner (now WarnerMedia), which owns CNN, and is also subject to a DOJ lawsuit.
Perhaps more crucial is that analysts have pondered what the lift of the federal constraints on Comcast means for its 30% stake in Hulu, the digital video-on-demand platform. Under the federal agreement, to get the go ahead for the NBCU deal six years ago, Comcast agreed to have no say, for a period of years, in terms of operation/management of the digital video platform.
Media analysts are fond of citing the wide-open digital world as providing new competitors to challenge Comcast and others. And yes, the traditional cable TV network/pay TV ecosystem is changing. It has seen subscriber and revenue reductions because of strong digital media companies.
Seems like media investors looked at this present activity and were nonplussed. Comcast Corp.'s stock closed on Monday down a bit lower -- 0.9% to $38.00. Broader market indices were down anywhere from 2% to 2.8%.
What about Trump’s tweet? While there is some argument to be made around big media consolidation raising prices, Craig Moffett, senior research analyst, MoffettNathanson Research, said on CNBC: “It is bizarre. I don’t know what to make of it. I don’t know if it has any import for investors in any way.”