Bloomberg Says Comcast Not Abiding By ‘Neighborhooding’ Condition, Threatens FCC Complaint

By Alex Weprin 

Bloomberg TV says that Comcast is not abiding by the news “neighborhooding” condition that was applied as part of the cable giant’s deal to acquire NBC Universal. As a result Bloomberg says it is threatening to file a complaint with the FCC.

Comcast says that Bloomberg misinterpreted the condition.

As part of its deal to acquire NBCU, Comcast said it would not favor any news channels it owns (like CNBC) over any independent news channels (like Bloomberg) and would place them in the same channel neighborhood.

B&C’s John Eggerton explains:

According to Bloomberg’s interpretation, examples of Comcast’s failure to comply includes in Washington, D.C., where it carries CNN, Headline News, CNBC, MSNBC, and Fox News on adjacent channels 35-39 and Blooomberg Television on channel 103, and in Seattle, where it is carries those same nets on adjacent channels 44-48, but Bloomberg on 128 between Nickelodeon and an empty channel.

[Comcast statement:] “Bloomberg simply misinterprets the ‘neighborhooding’ condition in the FCC’s Comcast NBCUniversal transaction Order. Comcast does not ‘neighborhood’ news channels in the way Bloomberg seeks to be repositioned. Further, Comcast has not repositioned any channels to favor CNBC or any other affiliated news channel. Bloomberg is not entitled to any relief pursuant to its threatened complaint.”

In a nutshell, the question becomes whether Comcast is obligated to go back and change preexisting channel lineups to meet the condition, or whether the rules only apply to new lineups going forward. The decision could also have an impact on Fox Business network, which like Bloomberg is often placed much higher up on the channel lineup.

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