Back9Network was set to be carried on Time Warner Cable this year. But when Comcast and Time Warner Cable announced their proposed merger in February, Bosworth said, Back9Network's negotiations "stalled." He said the elimination of Time Warner Cable as a top carrier of paid television services will make it even harder for a company like his to get off the ground. Bosworth worries that with Comcast's competing golf channel, "the incentive is for the merged company not to carry us."
Such public remarks by an independent programming firm are rare. Companies have complained privately to lawmakers, regulators and public interest groups about their concerns the merger would concentrate too much power in the hands of Comcast. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said independent programmers have relayed their fears to her but were hesitant to go public with their complaints because of Comcast's outsized power over the entertainment, cable and Internet markets.
Comcast would control about 30 percent of the paid television market and more than 40 percent of the broadband Internet market.
"What will happen to the next Neflix that today is just a dream in a garage?" Klobuchar said at the hearing.