Television is much more than traditional cable or broadcast these days. That is one of Comcast’s biggest challenges, and it’s also one of the company’s primary justifications for the proposed $45.2 billion all-stock acquisition of Time Warner Cable, announced overnight.
If approved by regulators, the deal will give Comcast about 30 million subscribers — spanning television, broadband and other services. That’s an increase of 8 million from its current total after divesting some Time Warner Cable subscribers to address competitive concerns.
In an interview on CNBC this morning, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts previewed the argument that the company will make to support its contention that the deal is “pro-competitive.” For one, he said, the deal will help the company bring out more competitive products to new markets — citing the company’s X1 cloud-based technology, and noting that Comcast has “speeded up the Internet 12 times in 12 years.”
“Secondly, all of our competitors are national,” he said. “DirecTV, Dish Network. And cable is this older system that is very local. In the new world with business services, the market that’s growing and we’re a new entrant, we’re able to go and offer cross-regional fiber connections to businesses in markets where we didn’t operate.”
Of course, the very network on which Roberts was speaking demonstrates Comcast’s size and growing influence in media and technology. CNBC became part of Comcast as part of the company’s earlier acquisition of NBC Universal, and the experience with that approval process will no doubt serve the company well as it navigates the regulatory process for the Time Warner Cable deal.