The Real Story: Why Comcast Acquired NBC Universal from GE

In a recent interview for Mint Press News I was asked about the implications that Comcast’s acquisition of NBC Universal will have on our access to diversified news and information. Although this move certainly impacts the control over content and how it is disseminated, traditional fear about limited access, increased regulation, and industry monopolization is not the central issue.

Strategically speaking, there is little to gain from controlling and restricting access to information. If Comcast is smart, they will open the floodgates, increase bandwidth, and drastically reduce prices.


It’s simple. The American public freely gives information away on a regular basis. What they don’t realize is there is a huge market demand for that information. Comcast is well aware that the vast majority of young people rely on their internet connection for news and entertainment rather than cable outlets.

This is a strategic move to capitalize on the currency of information, rather than the control of it. If the currency of the future is data (both big and small), then media giants like Comcast are positioning themselves to be the 21st century data-banking elite.

Why did GE sell their shares in NBC Universal?

The official answer is about focusing on what they do best, namely manufacturing. GE continues to be a major powerhouse in the marketplace and it’s not because they continuously come late to the party. GE has a keen eye on the long-term, so we have to consider the bigger strategic picture here. To be brief, here are few things to consider when it comes to the future of manufacturing:

  • 3D printing is disrupting traditional ideas of manufacturing opportunities faster than expected.
  • This past November GE bought Morris Technologies which manufactures jet engines via 3D printing.
  • In-home personal 3D printers like Makerbot™ are quickly becoming an affordable tool for the domestic market.
  • 3D printing requires the infrastructure to rapidly transmit code from place to place.

And there it is. In order for an idea or concept to generate revenue it must have two key components:

  1. The mechanism to make it manifest
  2. The vehicle / infrastructure to get it to the market

GE is positioned to dominate the output in this equation, while you and I dominate the input with an abundance of ideas and concepts. Comcast creates the optimal infrastructure for this transaction to work. Such an arrangement might render these banking giants of the future, “too big to fail.”


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