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Actually, the Comcast-Time Warner Merger Doesn’t Hurt Netflix


Remember way back (you know, like four years ago) when Netflix was primarily a mail-order DVD company? Things have changed a lot since then.

Now Netflix–which has become a key player in online video–wants to kill the Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger. Its announcement comes, not coincidentally, on the heels of a letter Senator Al Franken sent asking Netflix to help him stop the deal. His stated aim: to prevent Comcast from becoming (in the scare words of internet scolds everywhere) “the gatekeeper of the internet.”

But far from imperiling consumers’ access to video content from both online distributors and independent cable channels alike, the deal is likely to improve it.

Yesterday the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the merger, and Netflix (and the interconnection issues raised by big content companies like it) was a hot topic. Of particular concern to several of the Committee’s members was the recent interconnection agreement between Comcast and Netflix and what it might suggest about Comcast’s ability to keep competitors from mounting a real challenge to Comcast’s video service. They really needn’t fret so much.

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