Comcast has earned a reputation as one of America’s most hated companies and there are plenty of people in the media who slam the cable giant on a regular basis. That’s why we’re intrigued about Re/code’s new report claiming that NBCUniversal, which is owned by Comcast, is about to invest hundreds of millions of dollars into two major media companies that have in the past been some of its toughest critics.
Re/code’s sources say NBCUniversal “is close to a deal to invest $250 million in BuzzFeed” and is also “negotiating to invest in Vox Media, which owns this Web site, in a deal that would value Vox at $850 million.”
Even though Buzzfeed is best known for posting about viral cat videos, it has also published articles that have taken big media companies to task for not doing more to stand up to Comcast. Vox, meanwhile, doesn’t just own Re/code but also Vox and The Verge, two extremely popular websites that have each taken several shots at Comcast over the past couple of years. The Verge in particular ran an entire multi-part exposé about why Comcast’s customer service is so utterly terrible.
It’s unlikely that Comcast’s TV and video unit is investing in major media companies just to silence critics, of course — Re/code’s sources claim that the idea behind the investments is that “NBCU can get a crash course on digital content and distribution from its new investments — and that those companies may want to distribute some of NBCU’s content as well.”
Even so, it does raise interesting questions about whether these outlets will be just as aggressive in pursuing Comcast-related stories in the future when they know Comcast is giving their parent companies a huge chunk of change.