So far most of the discussion about the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger’s potential impact on Netflix has centered around how the newly combined Internet giant could throttle Netflix’s traffic. This isn’t too much of a concern in the short-term since Comcast is still bound by the network neutrality restrictions it accepted as part of its merger with NBC. On the other hand, there is a more immediate way that a Comcast-TWC merger could adversely affect Netflix’s business, according to a new report from Bloomberg.
Before the proposed merger with Comcast was announced, Time Warner Cable was in negotiations to bring Netflix’s app to its cable set-top box and make it much easier for TWC subscribers to access Netflix’s online streaming library. The proposed Comcast merger has now slowed these talks to a crawl, unnamed sources tell Bloomberg, because Comcast is much more interested in promoting its own X1 set-top box platform as an alternative.
Why is this important to Netflix’s future growth? As Bloomberg puts it, “A deal with Time Warner Cable would put pressure on other pay-TV providers to offer Netflix as well.” Now, however, it looks like Netflix’s plan to invade the cable market have been put on hold until the Comcast-TWC merger gets either approved or rejected.