(Adds Comcast comment, paragraphs 8-9)
WASHINGTON, April 28 The head of the
Spanish-language television network Univision said on
Monday that Comcast Corp's plan to buy rival Time
Warner Cable Inc could be "bad for Hispanic audiences."
Univision President Randy Falco said on a conference call
with media analysts that the proposed $45 billion deal, which
would bring together the No. 1 and No. 2 U.S. cable providers,
was a "cause for concern."
"We are hoping at the very least there is that scrutiny and
potentially much tougher restrictions added to the existing
consent decree (prompted by a 2011 deal) that will protect
Comcast competitors such as Univision who are serving minority
communities in particular," said Falco.
Falco stopped short of asking the Justice Department and
Federal Communications Commission, which are reviewing the deal
to ensure it is legal, to block it outright.
On the call, Falco said a primary worry was that Comcast,
with its range of movies, television shows and sports shows,
would be reluctant to carry networks that it did not own, such
In particular, he complained that Comcast balked at
distributing Univision's sports network, while others, including
Time Warner Cable, did carry it.
Falco noted also that if the Comcast/Time Warner Cable deal
is approved, the new, larger Comcast would serve 91 percent of
all Hispanic households and be the top distributor in 19 of the
top 20 Hispanic markets.
Comcast said in response it "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
"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,"
the company's statement added. "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
Also on Monday, Comcast announced a deal with Charter
Communications Inc as part of Comcast's efforts to win
regulatory approval for its mega merger.
If finalized, that agreement would leave Comcast with less
than 30 percent of the U.S. residential cable or satellite TV
market, a step aimed at pleasing regulators. Charter would have
about 6 percent of the pay-TV market, with an eventual shot at
climbing to 9 percent. That deal is contingent on Comcast
closing the Time Warner Cable acquisition.
(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Ros Krasny, Phil
Berlowitz, Peter Cooney and Bernard Orr)