Yesterday was the deadline for comments to be filed at the FCC and comments poured in right up to the deadline late last night. We continue to be gratified by the wide variety of support the transaction is garnering – at last count, over 620 substantive supportive comments have been filed. They’ve come from across the spectrum, including elected officials, businesses, organizations representing diverse communities, and community organizations of all types.
We’re pleased that 83 US Senators and House Members; 8 Governors, over 40 Mayors, and over 115 other state and local officials have put their support on the record. These elected officials represent communities across the country, from New York to California, urban and rural states and districts, and many diverse populations.
In its filing, the National Urban League noted that Comcast and NBCU “have had a positive record in promoting diversity” and noted the support of the companies toward “increasing the availability of minority-focused content” in our programming line-ups. In addition to the National organization, 14 chapters of local Urban Leagues from Portland, OR to Springfield, MA also filed supportive comments noting their experiences with Comcast and NBCU in local markets.
Other national community organizations which filed in support include One Economy Corporation, Common Sense Media, Big Brothers Big Sisters, City Year, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and the Partnership for a Drug Free America.
We’re proud to have support from the Hollywood creative community through the filing made by the Directors Guild of America. In addition to the letters filed by the Teamsters I highlighted yesterday, this shows significant support from organized labor.
The broadcast affiliate organizations of both NBC and the other major networks filed comments as well, recognizing that we’ve been in discussions for months listening to their concerns and working together on support for the commitment we made on the day we announced the deal to preserve over-the-air broadcasting in a challenging economic environment. These organizations represent hundreds and hundreds of TV stations across the country. We view the conditions requested by these organizations as consistent with that goal.
Additional programmers have weighed in as well, like the NFL, which recognized that strong broadcast television networks play an important role in bringing programming to the public. The NFL noted while it has had disputes with Comcast in the past, the parties were able to resolve them successfully. Other independent programmers including the Sportsman Channel and RHI Entertainment noted their positive relationships with Comcast and NBCU. At least 16 independent programmers expressed support for the transaction in comments at the FCC.
As expected, a number of parties have filed opposition comments. We had already anticipated virtually all of those comments, and have filed economist reports and strong contrary analyses. In addition, many of the third party supporters of the transaction effectively rebut the assertions of the objectors. And we continue to be struck by the number of comments that raise industry wide rather than transaction-specific issues, as well as the commenters who are seeking to use the transaction review process to gain what they could not otherwise achieve through other regulatory proceedings or in the competitive marketplace.
The hard work on our July reply comments has already begun, and we’ll be addressing the legitimate concerns raised by participants in the process.