Charter Communications, the nation’s third-biggest cable provider, is set to buy out Time Warner Cable, the second-biggest. This week, the PTC filed FCC comments urging the government to ensure the merger is in consumers’ best interests.
The PTC is asking the FCC to carefully consider whether the proposed merger will: (1) provide consumers with greater choice and control over programming they receive and pay for; and (2) protect the ability of smaller, independent, family-friendly programmers to serve the unique needs of parents and families.
When two large companies merge, the new entity holds vastly more power, and competition is lessened. The result can often be poorer service and fewer choices and options for customers. In the past Charter has shown strong support for Cable Choice, while Time Warner Cable has not. We urge the FCC to ensure that the proposed merger serves the public interest by providing consumers with greater choice and control over the programming they receive and pay for.
The PTC is also urging the FCC to ensure that small, independent, family-friendly programmers aren’t crowded out by the merger. The overwhelming majority of cable networks are owned by one of six major corporate conglomerates: Viacom, ABC-Disney, NBCUniversal, CBS/Showtime, Fox, and Time Warner. These companies not only own most of the networks on cable TV, they limit competition by taking up space on the basic cable tier; and, as time goes by, they are consistently moving in the direction of showing less and less family-friendly programming. Only small, independent networks like Hallmark Channel, UP, INSP, RFD-TV, and Ovation consistently offer programming safe for the entire family. We ask the FCC to serve the public interest by protecting the cable networks that provide positive, wholesome family content.
To read the PTC’s full comments, click here.