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Posted at 10:59 AM ET, 11/24/2010

Comcast, NBC argue against sharing with Internet TV

By Cecilia Kang

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.

Related stories:
Senator Franken urges Justice investigate Comcast and NBC for alleged antitrust violation

Internet TV battles come to head at FCC

Regulators eye Internet access conditions in Comcast-NBC review

By Cecilia Kang  | November 24, 2010; 10:59 AM ET
Categories:  Comcast, FCC, Online Video  
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Comcast, if allowed to buy NBC, would no doubt add much of the NBC content to it's onine offering's already there for it's bundle-abused subscriber's. There's no way they would want to give that away free,it'd devalue their future internet video business.

Posted by: Hattrik | November 24, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Ah, and so it goes. We see an industry thrashing in its death throes as another struggles in labor pains to be born. We watch with a mix of nostalgia and glee as the giants nobly fight to hold on to the last pieces of profit points they have torn from each other over the years of legal battles within a business model that is no longer viable.

In the end, the home internet platform will be what it should have been years and years ago - the tv.

Posted by: lquarton | November 24, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Wow this makes a lot of sense dude, Wow.

Posted by: clermontpc | November 24, 2010 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Have our anti trust laws been repealed???
Oh, the politicians have been taken care of, is why there is no problem of a company being given such a dominating part of the media & entertainment market.

Oh how wonderful the Cashrarocy systems works, once Democracy is pushed aside.

Thank you so much my "elected representatives." Hope you don't chock on the money falling out of your pockets.

Posted by: bkarpus | November 25, 2010 7:47 AM | Report abuse

The Comcash cow must be Fed, apparently.

Posted by: bwk3 | November 26, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Comcast is blocking VPNs. I battled with it for a month then after calling I was told I would have to upgrade to business class and upgrade my modem. After escalating the problem a lady from business class called me and told me they don't block vpns but magically it started working. This is why we need neutrality. They are a monopoly, buying MSNBC for $12 billion cash and now they are trying to charge Level3 and others a fee if they offer movies. What next! I have a contract they signed when they came into town buying up all the cable providers. They bribed the county $100,000 in return for no oversight on fees. I would be happy to send it to you. Comcast also changes their rates. I had to call twice on my business account and if I wouldn't have had my contract I would have been out of luck. I am renting a modem at home for $3 according to my contract but at some point they started charging me $5. I had intermittent problems and had to do a survey on my street. Half the people had already quit Comcast because of service issues and many have replaced equipment at their cost. The rest all complained or were about to cancel service. With this information Comcast came out and finally fixed the problem. There is no control over this monopoly and it will only get worse, TV Wars are next. I pay more to Comcast than to FPL something is wrong here. The hands of big business are deep in our pockets and the economy will not improve until they give us a break. There is too much money involved here.

Posted by: bern3 | November 30, 2010 5:38 AM | Report abuse

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