Bloomberg Wants FCC Action on Comcast Neighborhooding CompliantAsks commission to direct cable op to group BTV with other news nets in top 35 DMAs 6/26/2013 10:08:57 AM Eastern
Bloomberg is pushing the FCC to come to a final decision on
its complaint against Comcast for what Bloomberg alleges is a violation of the
news neighborhooding condition the FCC imposed as a condition of allowing
Comcast to meld with NBCU.
In a letter late Tuesday to the new FCC acting chairwoman
Mignon Clyburn and the other commissioners, Bloomberg says the FCC should act
"immediately" to move Bloomberg TV into all the standard-definition
"news neighborhoods" on Comcast systems in the top 35 DMAs.
The company points out that it has been 29 months since the
FCC approved the deal, and almost a year since the Media Bureau said there
should be some neighborhooding, then stayed that decision pending review by the
full commission. "[I]t is past time for the Commission to expeditiously
act on this matter," said Bloomberg.
"The Commission has all it needs to enforce the news
neighborhooding condition before any more of the seven-year time limit on the
condition passes," Greg Babyak, head of government affairs for Bloomberg
LP, said in a statement. "With that final step, the Commission will ensure
that millions of Comcast customers benefit from a greater diversity in cable
The FCC back in May 2012 agreed with Bloomberg that Comcast
needed to move the independent news channel into "news neighborhoods"
-- groupings of news channels in adjacent channel positions -- to comply with
the NBCU deal condition. That condition was meant to prevent Comcast from
favoring its co-owned news nets, like MSNBC or CNBC, over independents.
In August the FCC, in an order clarifying its May 2 order to
Comcast to neighborhood Bloomberg TV, stayed the effectiveness of that order as
it applied to markets with only a single standard-definition news neighborhood
and no vacant adjacent channels.
The FCC said the partial stay would reduce consumer
disruption if the FCC changes its decision per the review for which Bloomberg
itself has asked.
Comcast disagrees that its news groupings in channel lineups
meet the FCC definition of a neighborhood, and that in any event, those groups
predated the deal condition and were "not based on any discriminatory
motive to advantage CNBC or MSNBC or disadvantage Bloomberg."
A Comcast spokesperson was not available for
comment at presstime.