August 27, 2014
By John Eggerton
Spanish-language programmer Entravision says the Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger will harm the Latino community and competing Latino-market program providers, and says the FCC should make Comcast divest its Spanish language nets as a condition of approval of the deal.
In comments to the FCC on the proposed deal, Entravision says that the combined company will have more buying power in the Latino programming market, and favor its own Latino-focused programming over independent programming, including from Entravision.
That means a probable pay cut to independent programmers, if they are not foreclosed altogether, the company says.
If the FCC approves the deal, says Entravision, it must impose structural conditions.
Citing an economic analysis it submitted along with its comments, Entravision suggested that most obvious remedies would be to require Comcast to sell Telemundo and Mun2 and/or divest cable systems in top Latino Markets to keep Comcast's share of Latino subs under 30%.
That is the FCC's former high-water benchmark for one MVPD's overall sub count, but Entravision argues that Spanish-language programming constitutes a separate market since the programming is not substitutable with non-Spanish language fare.
Actually, the FCC's 30% cap is no longer in effect, but Comcast, to address concerns about sub totals, is spinning off enough subs to Charter in a sale/trade side deal to keep it under the 30% figure, though other deal critics argue that TWC's management deal with Bright House should count toward the total, too.
Source: Broadcasting & Cable