Now that Comcast has operated NBCUniversal for a little over a year, has it been the good public interest citizen the Federal Communications Commission envisioned when it approved the $30 billion landmark deal with conditions?
In the first of seven annual reports required by the FCC's transaction order, Comcast all but gives itself an "A" in complying with a host of conditions the FCC required with the approval of the $30 billion deal.
"As the report shows, our commitments and the conditions, though extensive, have been incorporated into our business activities and become part of the company's 'DNA'," wrote David Cohen, Comcast's executive vp, in a blog post.
Among the conditions addressed in the 46-page report, the launch of a low-cost Internet service now in 41,000 homes was at the top of Cohen's list on his blog post. Cohen also highlighted the company's addition of new minority-owned channels, the addition of independent networks (it added BBC World News last year) and increasing the amount of local news at the NBC and Telemundo station groups.
Despite the glowing report Comcast gave itself, it's not been all smooth sailing for the media conglomerate. Bloomberg has an outstanding complaint with the FCC charging that Comcast is not fulfilling the "neighborhooding" condition because Bloomberg Television is not located in the channel lineup next to other news channels such as Comcast-owned CNBC.
In its report, Comcast addresses the neighborhooding controversy denying that it had violated any condition because it hadn't "rearranged any news channels into a neighborhood since the close of transaction."
Bloomberg called the language in Comcast's report "revisionist language," citing the order, which states that Comcast must include all independent news and business news channels "if Comcast now or in the future carries news and/or business news channels in a neighborhood."
"[Comcast] deliberately misstates its own legally binding commitments to Chairman Genachowski and the American people on the new neighborhooding condition," said Greg Babyak, head of government affairs for Bloomberg, in an emailed statement to Adweek.
Bloomberg's original complaint was filed last June. Both companies have filed a series of complaints and responses with the last document filed by Comcast in October. The FCC has yet to rule.