Comcast/Tennis Channel Agree to Mediation
Agree to complete process by Nov. 24
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 10/20/2010 12:50:16 PM
That is according to a one-page filing with the FCC. They have agreed to complete that mediation by Nov. 24. The FCC earlier this month designated Tennis Channel's program access complaint for a hearing before the judge, saying that there are "substantial and material question of fact as to whether Comcast has engaged in conduct that violates the program carriage provisions of the ACT and the Commission's rules."
The FCC has not answered those questions, but it wants a judge to help it do so.
Comcast had said earlier this month it was "look[ing] forward to refuting this groundless complaint in a full evidentiary hearing before an Administrative Law Judge at the FCC," but the judge also gave the companies until this week to decide whether to seek mediation first. Both parties had to agree, and both did.
Tennis Channel argues that Comcast is favoring its own similarly situated networks Versus and Golf Channel by placing them on more widely viewed tiers. The complaint stems from Comcast's decision to keep the Tennis Channel on a premium sports tier rather than a more broadly distributed programming tier.
The decision to seek mediation could be seen as a D.C.-friendly move. In the wake of the Fox/Cablevision retrans dispute, regulators and legislators by the scores have encouraged parties in carriage disputes to seek outside help to prevent consumers from being the injured third party in such impasses, though the issue has been primarily about access to TV stations.
"We're glad that they're talking and hope they can work it out," said Public knowledge spokesman Art Brodsky. He said he was suprised the complaint had not been settled by now given Comcast's desire to get the NBCU joint venture approved in Washington, something he had speculated about in a blog posting about the complaint.
No related content found.
No Top Articles
Digital Rapids provides market-leading software and hardware solutions, technology and expertise for transforming live and on-demand video to reach wider audiences on the latest viewing platforms more efficiently, more effectively and more profitably. Empowering applications from..more