• August 1, 2014

Effects of Comcast-Time Warner merger unclear

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Posted: Friday, February 14, 2014 4:30 am

It remains unclear if Central Texas customers will see any savings resulting from the recent announcement that Comcast Corp. will acquire Time Warner Cable, pending regulatory and shareholder approval, by the end of 2014.

The $45 billion deal combines the nation’s top two cable TV companies and will give the new company 30 million total subscribers.

Comcast, which operates mainly in Chicago and the northeastern United States, is taking the position that the merger will not affect regional competition because the companies do not serve overlapping markets.

Time Warner Cable is currently the main cable provider in the greater Killeen area, as well as New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and Milwaukee.

The merger will save about $1.5 billion in annual costs over three years, according to an Associated Press report, half of that will be realized in the first year.

The savings will be added to Comcast’s stock portfolio and budget sheet, according to a news release from Comcast.

“This transaction will create a leading technology and innovation company, differentiated by its ability to deliver groundbreaking products on a superior network while leveraging a national platform to create operating efficiencies and economies of scale,” according to a Comcast news release.

Melissa Sorola, a spokeswoman for Time Warner Cable in Texas, said she could not say if the savings in operating efficiencies would be passed down to customers or if the new company’s increased market share would result in cheaper priced cable packages. Sorola also did not elaborate on the exact network speeds that would be offered in the future.

But customers will receive an increase in the number of products to choose from, she said. Subscribers will have access to Comcast’s cloud-based X1 Entertainment Operating System, an interface that organizes pre-recorded shows, live TV and XFINITY On Demand. They also will have access to “Everywhere TV,” she said, which allows shows to be broadcast using XFINITY mobile apps. From the apps, customers can watch up to 35 channels from their phones.

Time Warner features such as “StartOver,” which rewinds live TV, and “LookBack,” which allows users to watch unrecorded shows that occur three days before, still will be available.

“There will be very little impact on the vast majority of employees. Comcast will need talented, motivated employees to operate the cable systems,” Sorola said. “It will take months to complete this transaction. In the meantime, we’ll continue to focus on serving our customers.”

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