Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Comcast In A Dealing Mood

Timing is everything. When to ask for the raise, when to bargain with the car dealer, when your cable distributor is in the middle of merger discussions with a content distributor and the FCC. And so now was the time for CBS to negotiate their content renewal deal with Comcast. "The agreement -- which covers the flagship network, CBS's Showtime, the launch of the Smithsonian Channel and expanded distribution for CBS College Sports -- is a coup for CBS CEO Les Moonves, who has been pushing to collect so-called "retransmission fees" from cable companies." So networks looking to launch or renew, get in line, and start now.

Of course, you will have to stand behind Dish and Direct TV for carriage of Comcast's Sportsnet on their platforms. What, withhold content while you are negotiating to own a broadcast channel. Absolutely not. This deal will get done because Comcast wants to show the FCC that they will act fairly. Nothing anticompetitive to be concerned with here. Content everywhere is the mantra. Let's hope that same attitude exists AFTER the merger is complete.

So who will stand up and get in line to negotiate next with Comcast. There must be more deals that need to get completed. Of course for ABC and Time Warner, who's agreement expires next month, negotiations may not be so friendly. And ultimately the consumer will face higher prices no matter the outcome.

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