During my testimony at today’s field hearing of the House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet on the Comcast NBCU joint venture, I requested that this letter to Rep. Bobby Rush from Comcast’s David Cohen be entered into the hearing record. The letter fleshes out a number of commitments we are making to diverse communities in connection with the transaction, including a venture capital fund of at least $20 million to expand opportunities for minority entrepreneurs to develop new media content and applications. The fund will be housed within Comcast Interactive Capital, our venture capital arm. We plan to release more information on this exciting innovation this Fall.
This transaction has already had six congressional hearings. The main focus of today’s hearing was how the joint venture would affect diverse communities, especially African Americans. In addition to the venture fund, Comcast has pledged that as we add 10 new independent networks in the coming years, four of these will be networks that have a majority of ownership by African Americans, and four will have majority ownership by Hispanics. We’ve updated our summary of Comcast and NBCU’s diversity commitments which are extensive and include corporate governance, workforce recruitment and career development, supplier diversity, media ownership, programming, and community investment.
Since we announced the transaction last December, we’ve been reaching out to a wide range of stakeholders in the transaction to understand their potential concerns and to address any concerns constructively. We’ve had productive discussions with Members of Congress, diversity organizations, broadcasters, guilds and unions in the content industry, and many others, and have won the support of many organizations. We were gratified when Members of the subcommittee today commended us for undertaking this outreach and for being open and sincere in our efforts to address potential issues.
As I said in yesterday’s post, this joint venture will benefit consumers across the board by preserving over-the-air broadcasting, enhancing local news and public affairs programming, investing in more diverse programming, and in many other ways. I was glad that Paula Madison of NBCU and I had the chance to present our case again today, and that we received such a positive response from the Committee members.