Comcast, NBC argue against sharing with Internet TV
Comcast and NBC Universal executives met with senior officials at the Federal Communications Commission this week, urging the agency against conditions to their proposed merger that would require the new company to provide shows and movies to Internet video distributors.
The Monday meeting comes after sources indicated to Post Tech that federal regulators would impose such conditions on their merger. The merger, proposed one year ago, is close to gaining approval if Comcast agrees to voluntary conditions on video program access to Internet companies like Apple TV and Google TV, sources said.
Comcast executive vice president of content acquisition, Matt Bond, and Kathy Zachem, vice president of regulatory affairs, joined NBC general counsel Rick Cotton to argue against conditions. They met, according to an ex parte filing, with the FCC’s senior counsel on the merger, John Flynn, and Chairman Julius Genachowski’s chief counsel, Rick Kaplan.
“The program access rules were designed to regulate traditional linear delivery of video programming, a market with an established business model,” Comcast and NBC wrote in their filing. “In the nascent, rapidly-evolving online video market where there is no established business model, it would be difficult as a practical matter to compare distributors for purposes of determining whether a programmer had unreasonably discriminated against a distributor.”
The companies said the FCC needs to more clearly define what an online video distributor is if it were to establish program-access rules for the Internet.
The issue comes as networks block their Web-based shows from Google TV and live online streaming site iviTV. FilmOn was hit with a temporary restraining order from a federal judge on Monday for allegedly retransmitting broadcaster’s signals without permission. IviTV, a similar site, says its practice differs from that of FilmOn because it pays copyright fees as a cable service provider.
Comcast has indicated it believes the merger will close before the end of the year. Stifel Nicolaus analyst Rebecca Arbogast said in a research note Tuesday that the FCC will likely push its review into January as it focuses next month on a net neutrality proposal.
| November 24, 2010; 10:59 AM ET
Categories: Comcast, FCC, Online Video
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