Concessions, demands bubble as latest Comcast hearing hits Chicago

Comcast is like the little Dutch boy these days--plugging holes left and right as it faces today's FCC hearing in Chicago to determine if it can spend $30 billion or so to acquire NBC Universal.

The MSO assuaged the Independent Film and & Television Alliance (IFTA) with a promise to use more material from independent producers, but at the same time suffered another hit from a minority group, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, which said the cable operator does not have a good diversity track record.

Comcast and NBCU were proactive with the IFTA deal, promising to adopt independent material within four years of June 1, 2011--assuming that the merger is closed.

"While there are no guarantees attached to this agreement (always a scary thing) we are hopeful it will provide solid opportunities for independent producers and NBCU/Comcast to work together in the future," said IFTA President-CEO Jean Prewitt.

The Latino journalists were less enthused about the possibilities of a merged company with the organization's leader, Ivan Roman, calling the merger "a setback for getting Latinos on the air at English-language outlets."

Comcast, of course, disagrees and says that the deal would in fact help Latinos and that it's setting up an Hispanic Advisory Council.

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