Thursday, December 03, 2009

NBC-Comcast proposed merger; Comcast and TW plans to increase PC subscriptions present an interesting horizon

Cecilia Kang has several recent stories in The Washington Post about the cable television industry, mainly about the move of Comcast and Time-Warner both to offer most major television series to subscribers on their PC’s (using a license or access code), and, as we heard today, plans for Comcast to buy a majority stake in NBC, taking it away from GE (at one time, NBC was a subsidiary of RCA).

The most important story probably occurred Dec 3, “Cable giants to put shows online
Time Warner, Comcast launch service in hopes of retaining customers”, link here.

The major networks (including CWTV as well as NBC, CBS and ABC) already offer many episodes of many of their shows for re-viewing free on PC’s. Some offer embed code for news shows (like 60 Minutes on CBS). Some cable networks (ABC Family) also offer episodes on video. Gay network LOGO offers many shows and movies, but then takes some of them down.

Of course, regulators will be concerned about anti-competitive potentials of the Comcast-NBC merger. I have Comcast at home, and I worked for both RCA (my first “professional” job in 1970) and later NBC (1974-1977) in applications programming. NBC is combined with Universal Pictures and Focus Features. For future filmmakers, this could make things interesting. I still remember some of the people at NBC then.

Actually, the tall building in Rockefeller Center was called the RCA Building then, and on the second day of work in February 1970 I did meet the top executives of RCA then before starting at what was called then the David Sarnoff Research Center (or Princeton Labs) at Princeton NJ, about two miles from the University campus. Memories are long.

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