The Univision CEO says: "Based on what I have seen and heard, I am still concerned that the proposed merger could be bad for competition and most importantly, bad for Hispanic audiences.”
Falco Wants Comcast-TWC Conditions
Univision CEO Randy Falco said Monday that federal regulators should at the very least impose “much tougher restrictions” on Comcast as conditions on approving Comcast’s merger with Time Warner Cable.
“Based on what I have seen and heard, I am still concerned that the proposed merger could be bad for competition and most importantly, bad for Hispanic audiences,” Falco said during the company’s first quarter earnings call.
“The fact is that there is not one other media or telecommunications company that has the level of vertical integration of Comcast — I’m talking about video, broadband and content — not Google, not AT&T, not Facebook, not the satellite providers. And when it comes to video and broadband, they are by far and away the largest provider in the country.”
According to Falco, the combination of Comcast and Time Warner Cable will become the dominant provider or TV and broadband not only in 30% of all TV homes, but also in 91% of Hispanic TV homes. “That gives this new company staggering influence over Hispanic consumers.”
The risk of the merger really is not hypothetical, especially for Univision, which competes directly with Comcasts’s NBC, Telemundo and NBC Sports, Falco said.
Comcast is the only major MVPD that does not carry Univision’s sports network, he said. “So either Comcast doesn’t understand that soccer is a passion point for Hispanics or they don’t support competitors who have competing services.”
Responding to Falco’s remarks,John Demming, Comcast’s executive director, corporate and financial communications, said: “Comcast is proud to be the nation’s largest provider of Latino and multicultural television packages, with a distribution platform that delivers more than 60 Latino networks in both Spanish and English. We have a proven track record with Hispanic customers offering the greatest programming choices in linear, digital, and on-demand platforms. New independent networks (El Rey and Baby First Americas), the Xfinity Latino Entertainment Channel – the first of its kind interactive channel, and the celebrated Xfinity Freeview Latino event, are a few examples to demonstrate how Hispanic inclusion extends beyond our robust procurement, workforce, and community investment practices.
“We face vibrant competition from companies with national and global footprints – like AT&T, Verizon, DirecTV, DISH, Netflix, Amazon – all to the benefit of consumers. 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. 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.
“Comcast has had an extraordinary, long-standing commitment to Hispanic programming and through the transaction with Time Warner Cable, we are committed to bringing high-quality Hispanic content to millions of additional Americans,” Demming concluded.