Univision CEO says Comcast-TWC merger would hurt Hispanic TV viewers

Univision CEO Randy Falco is opposed to Comcast's (NASDAQ: CMCSA) $45.2 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) because it could harm Hispanic TV viewers.

Randy Falco, Univision

Falco (Source: Univision)

"You've already heard that the new Comcast will be the dominant cable and high-speed broadband provider in markets with 30 percent of all U.S. cable households. What you may not know is that the new Comcast will serve markets with 91 percent of all Hispanic households and will be the top TV distributor in 19 of the top 20 Hispanic markets," Falco said during a first quarter earnings conference call, Adweek reported. "That gives this new company staggering influence over Hispanic consumers."

The writing could be on the wall just based on the fact that Comcast is the only cable service provider that doesn't distribute Univision's sports network--apparently not understanding the "passion" that Hispanics have for soccer which is covered by the network, Falco said.

"Either Comcast doesn't understand that soccer is a passion point for Hispanics or they don't support competitors who have competing service," Falco said, alluding to Comcast's multiple sports networks with NBC. "My fear is the latter is the case and this type of anti-competitive conduct would continue."

As has become its wont as the merger approval process proceeds, Comcast quickly responded with what Variety called a "lengthy statement" defending its Hispanic lineup.

"This transaction will not lead to any reduction in competition or consumer choice in any market because Comcast and Time Warner Cable serve separate and distinct geographic areas--we don't compete for customers anywhere," Comcast spokesman John Demming said, according to Variety. "We will not have undue power in negotiating with programming networks and we have a great record of working with programmers from the largest to the smallest."

Aside from Comcast, Falco came down in favor of broadcasters and against Aereo as that service battles for its life before the Supreme Court, the Variety story said.

In less controversial news, Univision said Friday Abernethy had been named senior vice president of content distribution for Univision Communications, charged with overseeing distribution relationships with cable, satellite and telecom operators. Before joining Univision, Abernethy was executive vice president of distribution sales and marketing for TV Guide Network.

For more:
- Adweek has this story
- Variety has this story
- see this Univision announcement

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