Comcast Is Bothered, But Not Bewildered


Senator Graham Is Just Bewitched

When he testified to urge the Senate Judiciary Committee to get on board with the proposed merger of Comcast and Time Warner, Comcast’s David Cohen was worried that some senators—other than Senator Graham—might have run into Comcast customer service. So he covered that base:

It bothers us that we have so much trouble delivering high-quality service to customers on a regular basis….[Comcast is trying to improve…and those efforts] are beginning to bear fruit….We’re deeply disappointed with where we are. But that will spur us to be even better. *

Cohen knows customer service is of as little interest to United States Senators as it is to Comcast. Based on Comcast’s approach to consumer concerns, customer service is a cost center, not a profit center. Thus Comcast service staggers on. Mr. Cohen did not provide examples of what being “even better” would be like. And No senator pursued the customer service with any vigor, so let’s speculate.

Did he mean: It will not get any worse? That would be better. If it stayed as bad as it is after Comcast/Time Warner service were slapped together, that would be miraculous, which qualifies as better than expected.

Or did he mean, You ain’t seen nothing yet? Cohen also said of the monstrous merger, “Sometimes big is necessary and good.”** Blending Comcast/Time Warner Service would be like merging Time with AOL. (Ooops, they tried that. It wasn’t pretty.)

Maybe he meant, You senators know what I mean and who I am. I’m in charge of Comcast’s lobbying efforts. We want Time Warner. This is a merger you cannot refuse. Got it? Senator Lindsey Graham got it: He said his DirecTV service was bothered by bad weather.* If enough senators are as unconcerned about Comcast’s treatment of consumers as Graham, this deal is done.

*Edward Wyatt, Senate Panel Expresses Caution on Merger of Cable Giants, New York Times, Business Day, pages B1, 11, 10 Apr 2014.

**Edward Wyatt and Eric Lipton, Comcast Gears Up To Persuade Regulators, New York Times, Business Day, pages B1, 7, 9 Apr 2014

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