Comcast, NBC Universal Defend Deal On Capitol Hill

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There was a congressional hearing Thursday over Comcast's controversial proposal to buy a 51 percent stake in NBC Universal.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

And executives from cable giant Comcast and entertainment company NBC Universal were on Capitol Hill yesterday defending their plan to join forces.

NPRs Elizabeth Blair reports.

ELIZABETH BLAIR: The proposal is controversial because a major distributor would control NBC Universals movies, TV shows, cable channels. Legislators wanted to know would the combined companies jack up rates. Would non-Comcast subscribers lose access to shows they want? The answers from Comcasts Brian Roberts were mostly accommodating.

Mr. BRIAN ROBERTS (CEO, Comcast): One of the reasons we want to get more invested in content is we see the value of that content growing. We will be well-served to make that content available to all the growing players in the marketplace.

BLAIR: The head of a smaller cable company testified that up to now negotiations with Comcast over content had been difficult. A supporter of the deals from the Freedom Foundation said regulators should simply let the market decide whether it will work.

Elizabeth Blair, NPR News, Washington.

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