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Sen. Al Franken wants all Comcast and NBC content available online

February 22, 2010 |  3:39 pm

Apparently Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn) really likes watching TV shows on the Internet.

FRANKEN In written questions to Comcast and NBC Universal regarding their $30-billion proposed marriage, Sen. Franken -- who has been one of the harshest critics of the deal -- wants Comcast and NBC Universal to promise that it will put all its television shows online. He also wants assurances that shows that the companies put online be made available to every one and not just people who get their Internet service through Comcast.

We're guessing that Comcast and NBC (and heck, the rest of the media industry for that matter) might find it a little pushy to require the companies to make all their content available online. Seems that it should be up to the companies to make that call. HBO, for example, resisted for a long time putting its shows online and is only now really venturing into that terrain.

As Franken notes in his questions to the two companies, "The Internet is the future of the media business." The media is pretty much in agreement with that. At the same time, though, the industry is not quite sure yet how to ensure that the Internet isn't also the end of the media business. Whether it is through charging for more content online or adding more advertising or being more selective with what goes online will be determined in the years to come.

At least Franken didn't request that Comcast and NBC Universal agree to put all their content online for free. Odds are that would be a non-starter.

-- Joe Flint 

Photo: Senator Al Franken. Credit: Chris Kleponis/Getty Images.