Comcast, the largest U.S. cable company, has recently moved forward with the acquisition of a controlling stake of NBC Universal. This is a huge move, the first of possibly several competing mergers where distribution and content networks become intertwined.
With the acquisition, Comcast gains control over a number of NBC Nbc.com/activate owned content properties, including the prominent movie conglomerate, Universal Studios, as well as several cable channels including Bravo, USA and SyFy. Comcast’s content goals are clear: the company wants to have control of a larger array of programming (on demand and online) in order to combat a potential loss of cable subscribers.
The question is: how will this large move affect consumers and the U.S. media eco-sphere as a whole? What will be the short and long term after effects of Comcast Buying NBC? I’d like to review a short hand list of pluses and minuses we can expect to see out of the deal.
(Plus) Movies to Cable Faster
Comcast has promised that one plus of the acquisition will be a faster turnaround for movies going from theaters to on-demand cable access. While this deal will primarily pertain to Universal Studios productions zipping to cable, other movie studios have also been testing alternative business models where consumers can access newer movies from the comfort of home.
(Minus) Free Online Video Distribution Takes a Hit
One of NBC’s latest and greatest achievements has been its free online video site, Hulu.com. Hulu provides a place for users to view NBC content on-demand with a slick interface and easy access to a huge library of up to date programming.
Comcast may be inclined to throttle or cap bandwidth for Hulu users that are outside of their ISP, or for that matter anybody surfing free content sites like YouTube, which compete for advertising dollars with their Comcast’s Cable TV and Online offerings.
(Plus) Mobile Devices Provided Better Access to (Some) TV Programming
Comcast has mentioned plans to diversify its offerings by allowing viewers to access popular TV shows on their mobile devices and online. By controlling both distribution and programming, Comcast will be able to better streamline this process for specific content and subscribers.
(Plus and Minus) Job Reshuffle
There is the questions of the fate of the employees whose roles are redundant between the two large organizations. Although Comcast claims this minority to be extremely minuscule, the problem remains for many of these jobs in limbo. Will the organizations need to consolidate some positions over time?
On the flip side, Comcast claims that this acquisition can only boost the company’s growth, in the end creating a larger number of job openings. Applicant Tracking and job searches for the right talent will become increasingly important for the mega-conglomerate as it expands to new horizons.