There's major news from the media industry as the day gets started. As the Associated Press writes:
Comcast Corp. announced Thursday it plans to buy a majority stake in NBC Universal for $13.75 billion, giving the nation's largest cable TV operator control of the Peacock network, an array of cable channels and a major movie studio.
The companies explain the details and their reasoning here. They boast that:
The combination of assets creates a leading media and entertainment company with the proven capability to provide some of the world's most popular entertainment, news and sports content, movies and film libraries to consumers anytime, anywhere. The joint venture will provide consumers the broadest possible access to content, and support high-quality, award-winning content development across all platforms including film, television, and online. It will be anchored by an outstanding portfolio of cable networks and regional sports networks that will account for about 80% of its cash flow, including USA, Bravo, Syfy, E!, Versus, CNBC and MSNBC. The joint venture will be financially strong with a robust cash-flow-generation capability.
The Wall Street Journal says that "combining Comcast — the nation's largest cable operator and third-largest phone service provider — with a major media and entertainment conglomerate that owns cable and broadcast TV networks, a major film studio and a theme parks business threatens to further shake up a media industry already reeling from the rise of digital media."
As Bloomberg News notes, though, the deal will face a "gauntlet" of regulators. It writes that the proposed takeover "will draw scrutiny from Obama administration regulators who have said consolidation of U.S. media companies may thwart competition. "
On Morning Edition, NPR's David Folkenflik talked with co-host Renee Montagne about the merger. He says regulators will be asking some tough questions about how much the new company would try to force consumers to pay for its programming: