$45.2 billion Comcast, Time Warner merger could be good news for Apple

“What do you do if you have an extra US$45.2 billion sitting around? If you’re Comcast, you buy Time Warner Cable,” Jeff Gamet writes for The Mac Observer. “Comcast announced on Thursday that it’s doing just that and plans to complete the deal before the end of the year. That could turn into a content licensing deal opening Apple TV to potentially 30 million customers.”

“The rumored Apple TV update will sport a new interface for easier navigation between TV shows, movies, and other online content. Assuming Apple does land a licensing deal with Time Warner, that content could include programming and other services from the cable provider,” Gamet writes. “Apple’s new set top box is expected to ship by fall, which would come in ahead of Comcast and Time Warner’s deal closing. If Time Warner does throw its hat in with Apple, that agreement could be part of the shared services all subscribers get after the merger, giving Apple a content deal with Comcast without ever having to negotiate with the cable provider.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Comcast to buy Time Warner Cable in $44.2 billion all-stock deal – February 12, 2014
Apple’s Eddy Cue back in the news, cutting deals in Hollywood – February 12, 2014
Apple to debut new set top box in April for Christmas launch; currently negotiating with Time Warner Cable, others – February 12, 2014

36 Comments

    1. Would you please identify the regions where customers are currently offered the choice in cable provider?

      ALL cable companies are regional monopolies. Merging doesn’t change this. The industry is long overdue for meaningful regulation to enhance customer choice (de-bundling options, for example), but don’t fool yourself into thinking that balkanized cable companies are any less greedy than a merged monolith.

      1. I can only speak about San Diego which, off the top of my head, has at least 4 choices 1)AT&T Uverse, 2)Cox, 3)Time Warner, and 4)Comcast. I’m not sure about Verizon Fios.

        1. The question is do you have a choice of CABLE providers today? The answer is probably no – there are very few places in america where residential customers have a choice of CABLE companies. So merging two of them doesn’t impact your current “choice”. You have one choice of cable companies and after the merger you will still have one choice of cable companies. Your choice is by choosing between cable, telco, satellite, etc.

          1. Hmm. I thought I answered Paul’s question. I provided a region and the choices available to me.

            To answer your question “do you have a choice of CABLE providers today?” Is yes. I have a choice of at least 4. Your region might be different. But not every region is ‘your’ region. I you only have one choice these companies merging will not change that. You will still have one choice if you want cable TV. Regions that have Comcast and TWC will have only one choice so this is bad and creates a monopoly environment. There will be regions that have three or more which will result in 2 and so on.

            I purposely omitted satellite TV as almost everyone has this as a choice.

        2. Uverse is not cable, it is IPTV.

          You mean the same address has a choice of Cox, Time Warner, and Comcast? if so, that is lucky. I presume it is shared cable that is then used by the specific cable company chosen?

      2. That’s part of the problem. So we make it worse? Even a company as big as Apple is having a hard time beating this monopoly and thinking of throwing in the towel on their Apple TV strategy. Something is clearly wrong here.

      3. Paul, that is pretty lame logic. You do know that naming one potential monopoly and proving it won’t exist doesn’t preclude a differently-defined monopoly, right? How about a monopsony? If Comcast becomes an entity with serious market power in providing content sellers with access to an audience, they can control what they pay. They could force content sellers to provide them with content cheap, while others (like iTunes, Hulu, Netflix, etc) have to pay more.
        This merger is an attempt to save the hated cable “last-mile” business model. Don’t be fooled.

    2. This is a simple problem to solve
      The same company that provides physical cable service (utility monopoly) can not also provide content as that would create a conflict that would allow one division of Comcast (internet delivery) to strangle the competitors of another division (the one that sells content)

      The easy solution is simply to split the Comcast into separate companies. Boom, problem solved. Then the internet delivery company than has no reason to give any one specific content provider an unfair advantage (by stalling or throttling packets of competitors).

  1. My favorite part of this rumor mongering is the inherent ridiculousness of it.

    A) Analyst makes up Apple is talking to Time Warner [Cable] (btw, is it Time Warner or Time Warner Cable?)
    B) Next day Analyst(s) make up claim Comcast and TWC merger is bad [or maybe good] for Apple.

    Come on, everyone has to chuckle at this. The Apple can’t deliver on rumors process is now taking only 24 hours.

  2. Then Apple could buy Comcast! Instant access to thousands of homes pre-wired with cable service. Then the networks could build their own apps and customers could choose a-la-carte which ones they want.

  3. As a Comcast customer (yuk) expect them to scuttle anything to do with Apple TV. Anyone who thinks Comcast is going to allow a different box in front of their cash machine is nuts.

    1. And yet comcast lets me view thier stuff on my iPad. I would not be surprised if Apple makes agreements with several providers in the future. TV like cars are entrenched, Apple will find a way to serve both of those industries.

        1. Yes, but of course I have to have the box to even be allowed to watch it on my iPad. And I can of course just watch it on my TV using my Tivo. I try to be thankful for what I have, and not find reasons to bitch about things.

  4. Nope. Comcast won’t touch it without making it too expensive for assets. “Assets” are what people in the broadband biz call customers.

    Comcast is not in the user experience game. They don’t give a flying hoot about your user experience. They are int the business of asset acquisition and asset exploitation. If Apple thought dealing with mobile carriers was hard, they ain’t seen nothing yet.

    In the business of asset exploitation you increase the bottom line by delivering the bare minimum service to assets as possible, while simultaneously maintaining the lowest possible QOS, and charging the highest possible fees.

    They can of course do this because there is no pesky free market to deal with, just the oligopoly. Between the ISPs they behave more like a group of governments than businesses. They do not speak of customer service, they talk about market ownership. They literally have geographical borders.

    They are effectively the OPEC of bandwidth, and the fees we pay are more akin to taxes than prices for a service.

    And year after year, Comcast is rated the worst.

    I can just see them. “AppleTv? We don’t even want that crap connected let alone showing our product. With our .50 cent set top box, we can prevent customers from fast forwarding through commercials, and we’ve got PLANS for data caps! Nope, keep your AppleTv.”

    1. A wise cynic I once knew stated that “The key to succeeding in business is to screw your customers exactly as much as you can get away with.” Crude, but true.

      In most businesses, the “screw threshold” is fairly low, because customers can easily leave for someone else. But in cable and broadband, where customers often have limited alternatives, that threshold is pretty high, and Comcast is infamous for taking advantage of it.

      ——RM

  5. Lets look at some of the words used in just one quoted paragraph –
    “That could … potentially … rumored … assuming … could include … expected … if Time Warner does … could be ….”

    Or to put it another way, Jeff Gamet knows nothing for certain and could be talking out of his ass and also could be assuming the wrong things from the rumours concerning Time Warner.

  6. What do I love about Comcast? The fact that I never have to deal with them or use their substandard equipment.

    So it’s TiVo that I really love. Insert CableCard and never have to deal with Comcast ever again. Sure, I pay more, but why wouldn’t you if using a service was that much of a nightmare?

    My cable always works. My internet is fast. I block all of the channels I don’t want (including standard definition channels for which there is an HD version). So simple even the kids, wife and visiting grandparents can use.

    Maybe Apple should buy TiVo. Interested in what Apple will come out with since I rarely use my Apple tv, aside from the photo and music capabilities. It’s Blu-ray rentals at Redbox for $1.29 for me until streaming prices come down.

  7. It’s time for the government to build out and maintain the information highway physical infrastructure and keep it open to all ISPs who want to use it in much the same way the interstate highways are open to all. That will open up competition to all parts of the country, including rural areas, that are now served by only one ISP. In many states now you can buy your electric from any utility company on the grid. This really must happen in some way or other with the internet to open up economic, educational, and community opportunities throughout the nation.

      1. Yes, I do. In my town the local government granted a decade long monopoly to our ISP because there was no other provider interested and the ISP pledged in return to build out the cable infrastructure, whichnthey now control. If that infrastructure were a public one, more ISPs would be able to offer service because even those who could not afford to build out the infrastructure in order to compete in this locality.

        Let’s not engage in knee-jerk defense of “free market solves all problems and “government ruins everything”. That’s extremely naive.

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