While most eyes remain transfixed by Comcast's (NASDAQ: CMCSA) proposed $45 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), a number of media industry executives are grumbling over the pay TV giant's far more quiet $320 million acquisition of online advertising platform FreeWheel in April.
The Wall Street Journal reports that programming executives are concerned about the Google-like amount of information FreeWheel provides Comcast about their content, especially since Comcast also owns one of their key competitors, NBCUniversal.
FreeWheel specializes in delivering ads for TV Everywhere products like WatchESPN and Watch ABC, just to name a few of the platform's clients. Media executives fear that Comcast will now have access to important viewer data, as well as adverting information such as CPM rates and volume.
As the Journal notes, both Comcast and FreeWheel have assured media companies that their data will remain protected. But of course, with the No. 1 pay TV operator having access to this information when it comes time to renegotiate carriage and retransmission fees, promises can only reassure so much.
"We have a lot of frenemies in our space," said one anonymous programming executive to the paper. "Our customers are also our competitors. That is the reality of the situation."
- read this Wall Street Journal story
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