Consumer Advocates: Comcast Merger 'Anti-Family'

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The cable company Comcast is trying to buy a majority stake in NBC Universal for nearly $14 billion.

The huge merger is raising concerns from consumer advocates, who call the deal "anti-consumer" and "anti-family."

Comcast is the nation's largest cable TV company. If the government says ok to the nearly $14 billion merger, Comcast will control NBC and Telemundo networks, about two dozen cable channels, and Universal movie studios and theme parks.

NBC's president Jeff Zucker described it as good news in a video statement.

"Putting them together with the NBC Universal portfolio I think makes for an even more dynamic and vibrant company," Zucker said.

On a conference call, Comcast's chief operating officer Steve Burke said similar mergers have worked well before.

"I think the entertainment industry has plenty of examples," Burke said. "Time Warner buying Turner, the Walt Disney Company how they've operated traditionally, FOX and Direct TV were doing a lot of different things together."

"They are very, very big in broadband distribution so when you marry that with their cellular, wireless, mobile franchise, and their cable franchise, they own it all," said Mediatech managing partner Porter Bibb.

It is a potentially disturbing proposition for many consumer groups who question whether one company should have that much power of production and delivery of entertainment.

The Parents Television Council said the Comcast/NBC Universal merger could destroy consumer choice.

"The history of merging entertainment producers with entertainment distributors has proven all that we need know: consumers - and especially children and families - will be thrown under the bus if it raises the share price of the combined company's stock by a penny," PTC president Tim Winter said.

Some consumer advocates worry the deal could mean people would end up paying more for TV.

The deal must still pass regulatory requirements before being finalized -- which could take up to a year.

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