End near? Comcast, NBC meet with FCC, Justice on proposed Internet video conditions
Comcast and NBC Universal executives met earlier this week with senior staff from both the Federal Communications Commission and Justice Department on proposed conditions on Internet video distribution, according to a filing.
The companies said it discussed potential conditions on their proposed merger "related to online video distribution, the provision of broadband Internet services, and Hulu."
Comcast spokeswoman Sena Fitzmaurice declined to comment on the filing.
It was not clear what details were discussed. But analysts have projected the companies will be required to promise that companies such as Apple TV and Amazon will get access to NBC shows and movies. They have also speculated that regulators will demand commitments to expand broadband access and not to raise stand-alone prices. Some public interest advocates have pushed for Comcast-NBC to divest its stake in the Hulu online video service, but analysts say that may face strong resistance from the companies. Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) urged regulators to require the divestiture of Hulu.
The firms said their meeting included Comcast executive vice president David Cohen and vice president of regulatory affairs Kathy Zachem; NBC general counsel Rick Cotton; FCC chairman Chief of Staff Eddie Lazarus and Senior Counsel Rick Kaplan; and Justice antitrust officials John Read and David Kully from the Litigation III Section; Joseph Matelis, counsel to the assistant attorney general; and Yvette Tarlov from the Telecommunications and Media Enforcement section.
A look at past filings show joint meetings with Justice and FCC officials are rare. That got some merger watchers speculating that Comcast and NBC may be near agreement with the federal regulators on conditions for the merger.
| December 10, 2010; 4:00 PM ET
Categories: Comcast, DOJ, FCC, Online Video
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