So immediately after the colossal failure of Comcast’s attempt to acquire Time Warner Cable, number four aka Charter comes along with the same idea. Well actually it was Charter’s idea originally but they had managed to insult Time Warner Cable with their low ball offer.
Charter and Atlanta Braves are both partly controlled by Liberty Media. Photo courtesy SLayer on Flickr
Will Charter be successful this time? And what if anything does this mean to cord cutters across the U.S. ?
I can tell you that mere days before the Comcast deal fell apart the industry was absolutely positive it was going through. New leadership roles had already been defined by Comcast and some people had changed jobs because they didn’t want to work for Comcast.
So this time we hear “don’t worry”, this is going to be easier. The combined companies won’t be as massive as Comcast/TWC so the Feds won’t object as strongly. I agree with the market, putting the odds at 50 50. It would be foolish not to learn from the past. And I think there is at least one Comcast (former ?) lobbyist out there that agrees. And f you find this kind of speculation entertaining, watch the stock prices of these companies as the deal comes to the expected close date. Wall Street seems to know just a bit ahead of the general public.
Meanwhile, is another Cable merger , albeit a smaller one, good for cord cutters? I doubt this one will have much impact. My own area would change from TWC to Charter (assuming they keep that name) and I’d still have U-verse, Dish and DirecTV as competition.
A slightly bigger concern would be if AT&T is allowed to purchase DirecTV. That dea; would take the competitive field down from 3 to 4. At least in terms of “Pay TV” providers.
But since everything, I expect, will eventually be delivered via the internet (OTT) what really matters is the number of internet service providers in the world. Post Charter/TWC I’d still have two: AT&T/U-verse or Charter. That’s it really. There are no WISP‘s, or independents that I can buy internet from. Even if there were, they’d be buying their pipe from the same two big providers.
In the near future, at least, it looks like that’s where we are headed. What I’ term a “virtual duopoly”. Coke or Pepsi. Apple or Android. You will have a choice, but not a big one, and prices will stabilize. That is unless Google Fiber gets serious.