Bloomberg's contribution: to get NBCU, Comcast must sell CNBC

No matter where you stand on the proposed $30 billion (if that's today's number) Comcast-NBC Universal merger, you have to understand why it's happening. Comcast wants access to NBCU's networks. While the over-the-air broadcast networks are gathering the most media attention, they're actually secondary to the cable properties.

That's why a demand by Bloomberg seems so far out and disingenuous. The company, which owns Bloomberg TV, wants regulators to force Comcast to sell CNBC--a profitable, more widely seen business channel than Bloomberg TV--before it approves the deal.

It seems almost like tilting at windmills, but Bloomberg is serious. It's hired former FCC Chairman Kevin Martin to lobby his former federal compatriots and is making its points through the non-Bloomberg media and with consumer groups where it has picked up support from the likes of the Consumer Federation of America.

Comcast, of course, says it not only has no plans to bury Bloomberg, it's trying to help the fledgling network. Comcast, said David Cohen, the MSO's EVP and a man with his own political muscle, has "done nothing to disadvantage Bloomberg's position since the deal was announced."

In the end, the two sides will probably close the gap as soon as Comcast closes the gap between where CNBC sits in its channel lineup compared to Bloomberg. As in golf, the lower the number, the better the position and Bloomberg really wants to move down.

Meanwhile, Martin is probably busier than he was when he ran the FCC. The National Coalition of African American Owned Media (NCAAOM) has hired him to represent them. Never short of a good quote, NCAAOM President-CEO Stanley Washington, in a news release, reiterated his organization's opposition to the deal, stating: "The time has come for Comcast to know that African Americans will no longer live on a Comcast plantation."

For more:
- see this story
- and this news release

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