Some U.S. cable operators continue to be agitated that Netflix isn’t paying them for using their pipes, and John Malone, who just sank a whole lot of money into Charter Communications, has thrown in with them.
And by the way, Glenn Britt is not interested in selling Time Warner Cable to Charter.
The Wall Street Journal, the original source of the Time Warner / Charter merger rumor, reported that Liberty CEO Craig Maffei met with Britt, the CEO of TWC, to discuss more operator consolidation. The WSJ said the idea of the TWC / Charter merger was floated then. Only today did the paper report that the idea was dismissed at the time.
That said, consolidation among MSOs has been ongoing, and it should be no surprise that more mergers are occasionally discussed. Malone told Charter investors that Charter is likely to do more small deals, presumably similar to Charter’s recent acquisition of the former Bresnan systems from Cablevision, and that bigger deals than that might also be possible.
As for Netflix, Malone has come down in the camp that believes Netflix should be paying MSOs for the bandwidth that Netflix subscribers consume.
Netflix’s counter-argument, noted in the article, has long been that Netflix could just as easily start charging MSOs for carriage, and that it’s better for everyone to keep it free in both directions.