As the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and antitrust regulators decide under what conditions to approve a merger between cable giant Comcast and NBC Universal, one issue they are scrutinizing is how competition between online video programming distributors could be affected by the merger. According to a Post Tech blog by Cecilia Kang, the chief executive of Hulu, an online television platform, recently had several meetings with members of the FCC about the potential merger.
Commissioners and the staff of the chairman of the FCC asked Hulu’s chief executive, Jason Kilar, questions about how a merger between Comcast and NBC Universal would affect online television programming and distribution.
According to Kang, the commissoners were interested in the differences between how online video programming distributors (OVPD) distribute online programming versus paid cable services, such as Comcast, and how the two kinds of distributors overlap or are related. The topics discussed included revenue models and cost structure, program acquisition, advertising sales and audience measurement.
Hulu’s online television platform is currently backed by networks, but some media watchdog groups and consumer groups are concerned that, once merged with Comcast, NBC with withhold online programming from competitors. They are urging the FCC to require Comcast-NBCU to share programming online with competitors. According to Kang, this is the fourth time that Hulu representatives have met with the FCC over the proposed $30 billion deal.
Hulu CEO Visits FCC to Discuss Comcast-NBC Merger (The Washington Post)