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Critics fear Comcast will charge more, offer less

Staff Report • Dec 4, 2009 at 12:00 AM

Comcast Corp.'s bid on Thursday to buy a majority stake in NBC Universal for $13.75 billion will give the nation's largest cable TV operator effective control of a legendary TV network, an array of other cable channels, including Bravo, and the Universal Pictures movie studio to boot.

Although the deal could mean that movies reach cable more quickly after showing in theaters, and that TV shows appear faster on cell phones and other digital devices, it also immediately raised concerns among some consumer advocates that Comcast would wield too much power over entertainment and charge more for shows.

Comcast already serves a quarter of all U.S. pay TV households, including those in the Nashville area. If the sale clears regulatory and other hurdles, Comcast would easily rival the heft of The Walt Disney Co. as an entertainment company with a broad and varied reach. "It's a huge deal,'' said Whit Adamson, the president of the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters. "I think (regulators) will have to impose some conditions."

Read the full report at the Tennessean's Web site.

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