U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) wants to know what Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) CEO Reed Hastings thinks about Comcast's (NASDAQ: CMCSA) plan to acquire Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) for $45.2 billion.
Franken knows what he thinks: "Comcast will be able to use its clout in the broadband distribution market to obtain an anticompetitive advantage in the content market."
Now he wants to know what a leading content provider thinks.
"Netflix is uniquely positioned to gauge the risks posed by this deal," Franken wrote before inviting Hastings to "share Netflix's views" on what Comcast supporters had to say when they appeared April 9 before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
It's something of a leading question since Franken himself believes that "there can be no serious doubt that Comcast has an incentive to favor its own content over unaffiliated content, like that produced and distributed by Netflix. Simply put, Comcast benefits financially when consumers watch Comcast-owned content instead of rivals' content."
Hastings, in a blog item, seemed a bit undecided on where he stands with regard to Comcast's control of the broadband pipe.
"Comcast has been an industry leader in supporting weak net neutrality and we hope they'll support strong net neutrality as well," he wrote.
A Netflix spokesperson told FierceCable that "We have received Senator Franken's letter and will respond."
- Sen. Al Franken wrote this letter (.pdf)
Franken rails against Comcast-TWC merger, says media companies fear retaliation
Senators grill Comcast, TWC execs on $45B merger plans
Netflix's Hastings makes a case for stronger net neutrality policy
Netflix CEO: Company in 'early' talks with Comcast, others on becoming a set-top app
Net neutrality wars: AT&T exec calls Netflix's Hastings 'arrogant'