If the proposed $30 billion deal between General Electric (GE) and Comcast (CMCSA) for NBC Universal is approved, Comcast would lead the market with control of access to 25% of U.S. households. Moreover, Comcast-NBC would own prized content, including The Tonight Show, The Biggest Loser and Bravo's Real Housewives series, according to The Washington Post.
In all, Comcast-NBC would control 20% of Americans' television viewing hours -- which might give it the market power to charge higher prices to competing networks seeking its content -- particularly online -- and to consumers. In short, Comcast's enhanced market power could cost all of us plenty. (Meanwhile, as I posted in reference to Oprah's move to cable, many of those network shows are so unprofitable relative to those on cable -- 5% cash flow margins for NBC vs. 23% for ESPN -- that Comcast might prune them back.)