On July 12, Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., president and founder of the RainbowPUSH Coalition, called on Comcast and NBC Universal to address the economic trade imbalance between Black-owned media and advertising firms that have been ignored in the hearings concerning the proposed merger of the two media giants.


“The current economic relationship between African-American-owned media and advertising firms and Comcast-NBCU has not been a part of the discussions taking place about this merger,” said Rev. Jackson. “These two media companies have a multi-billion dollar trade deficit with African-American consu­mers. A mutually beneficial trade relationship must be negotiated to end the media and economic segregation that exists.”

Among the economic facts that Rev. Jackson said must be considered are these:

•Black consumers spend more than $9 billion a year for cable and Internet service, most of that going to Comcast, according to data from the federal government.

•The Black community sends a half-billion dollars every single month to Comcast for cable and Internet service. And Black consumers pay more per household than any other consumers because they’re more willing to pay for premium cable service and the fastest Internet service.

•Comcast and NBCU have not negotiated with Black-owned media companies or ad agencies about advertising directed to Black consumers. Advertising represents the largest sum of money Comcast and NBCU spend with the Black community every year.

•According to industry figures, Comcast and NBCU last year collectively spent more than $1.5 billion in advertising. Only $6.3 million was spent on advertising in Black media —less than one-half of one percent. Practically none of that money was spent with Black-owned media.

“We need a fair trade agreement between Comcast-NBCU, Black-owned media companies, and Black-owned ad agencies and public relations firms,” said Rev. Jackson. “A merger between Comcast and NBCU will mean that there will likely be no competition possible for the billions of dollars we spend for cable service, Internet service and Black-oriented news and public affairs programming, and no possibility for greater minority ownership of television, cable, Internet and other media platforms.”

The RainbowPUSH Coalition recently announced the formation of The Marketing & Media Project to join RPC’s other industry-focused projects whose mission is to protect, defend and gain civil and economic rights by leveling the playing fields. A Steering Committee has been formed within The Marketing & Media Project consisting of Danny Bakewell of the NNPA, Jim Winston of National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB), Eugene Morris of the Association of Black-Owned Advertising Agencies (ABAA), and Robert Bogle of the African American News and Information Consortium (AANIC).

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