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|CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS, INC. /MO/ filed this Form 425 on 02/12/2016|
CBM works with black newspapers, radio stations, and media personalities across the state. In line with our efforts is the promotion of diversity and inclusion across the cable broadband industry. Like much of corporate America, cable broadband has struggled to address gaps in representation. Many in the industry are making strides in this area, however, and the Charter-Time Warner-Bright House merger is a serious step in the right direction.
It should be noted herein that on August 8, 2014, CBM filed a Petition in the FCC, MB Docket No. 14-57 to deny the application of Comcast Corporation, Time Warner Cable Inc., Charter Communications, Inc., and SpinCo to assign and transfer control of FCC licenses and other authorizations. Our reasons for opposing the proposed merger at that time was because we found that the merger proposed by Comcast Corporation would have inflicted great harm in the African American viewing community, and to the media members we represent.
This was for several reasons. First, the Comcast proposed merger gave rise to First Amendment concerns. Second, we believe there were vertical integration and horizontally integrated media anti-trust violations. Third, the proposed takeover would have created a media mega-corporation controlling access to a super majority of households in the protected classes , which was far too much power and control in the marketplace, it was not in the public interest, and it would not have been consistent with diversity objectives set out by Congress and the FCC. 1
However, given the size and impact of this newly aligned proposed merger, the far reaching and affirmative public interests mandates voluntarily adopted by New Charter in this proposed merger, we find no opposition to the New Charter merger, MB Docket No. 15-149. To the contrary, we applaud the self-imposed initiatives of the New Charter MOU.
New Charter’s hiring, governance, and procurement efforts would work to dismantle barriers to entry for those groups that remain underrepresented in the industry. For example, the company would improve the hiring and retention of minority employees through targeted mentorship programs. It would also commit to bringing on at least one Latino, one African American, and one Asian American to its board. In addition, it would provide information sessions free of charge to minority-owned businesses interested in joining the cable broadband supply chain.
The MOU also outlines New Charter’s commitment to diverse consumers. The company would support independent programmers, many of whom are minority owned, in an effort to build greater inclusion in the industry and provide customers with more programming options. And, consistent with our often stated position in the past, CBM supports cable mergers that have committed to explore expansion of programming to address the need for an independently owned Black cable public affairs news station.
1 Please see our previous filing in its entirety for our supporting arguments. See CALIFORNIA BLACK MEDIA’s PETITION TO DENY APPLICATIONS OF COMCAST CORPORATION, TIME WARNER CABLE INC., CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS, INC., AND SPINCO TO ASSIGN AND TRANSFER CONTROL OF FCC LICENSES AND OTHER AUTHORIZATIONS. MB Docket No. 14-57.
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