Comcast Files Tennis Brief
Says FCC misapplied the law and ignored evidence
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 10/4/2012 4:27:52 PM
The FCC earlier this year found for Tennis Channel and mandated that Comcast carry it on a more widely viewed tier, though the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit subsequently stayed enforcement pending its decision on Comcast's challenge.
In the brief, Comcast said the FCC had "Fundamentally misapplied its program carriage rules, ignoring fundamental legal principles, disregarding evidence and "requires Comcast to carry Tennis Channel more broadly than even the network's partial owners, DirecTV and Dish Network, carried it-a patently absurd result."
Comcast says the FCC "finds an unreasonable restraint because Tennis Channel presumably could secure more viewers and advertising revenue via broader carriage. But that will be true in every discrimination case under Section 616, and thus cannot constitute an unreasonable restraint without rendering that requirement a nullity," Comcast said.
The cable operator also argues the complaint should be moot because it was filed too late.
Comcast asks the court to hear its appeal and, ultimately, vacate the FCC order.
Comcast owns Golf Channel and NBC Sports Network, and gives them promionent placement on their basic cable package. Comcast doesn't own Tennis Channel, so feels no reason to place them anywhere but on a more expensive 'sports tier'. This keeps Tennis Channel's viewership and resulting revenues low. Maybe Comcast wants to buy Tennis Channel... and only then place them on a basic package!
Marcus Jackson - 10/5/2012 3:26:58 AM EDT
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