Comcast NBC merger deal likely to get nod from FCC

The chairman of the US communications regulator, the Federal Communications Commission says that he would vote to endorse the proposed merger of Comcast and NBC Universal provided certain conditions were met, a significant step toward the formation of a new internet and media powerhouse.

In a draft order of approval of the merger, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said the companies should promise to share TV shows not only with competing cable and telecom services but also, with new web platforms, such as Apple TV and Netflix, to some extent,  that plan to offer television over the internet.

The agency's final order is expected next month.  In the meantime, the order has been circulated to the other four members for consideration.

Though the Justice Department is reviewing the proposed move on its own, it has not made its position clear. Sources say the companies have not adequately addressed concerns about the deal affecting competition particularly in the evolving internet TV industry.

According to analysts, the companies, looking eagerly towards approval following a year-long review, would likely come up with specific commitments to preserve competition.

They add the deal would probably get approved by both agencies, with the industry giants receiving the go ahead for creation of a media titan that would reach American viewers over TV, smartphones and computers.
Between them, the companies count around 16.7 million broadband subscribers, about 23 million cable customers in addition to a vast library of popular shows, including "Saturday Night Live" and "The Office."