Washington

Ninth Circuit Denies WealthTV Challenge

Says FCC relied on substantial evidence that cable carriage call was not discriminatory 3/14/2013 03:21:22 PM Eastern

The U.S. court of Appeals for
the Ninth Circuit Wednesday declined to review the FCC's decision that Time
Warner Cable, Cox, Comcast and BrightHouse did not discriminate against
WealthTV in favor of their own, co-owned channel, MOJO.

The
court agreed with the FCC that they had denied carriage for legitimate,
nondiscriminatory business reasons and that WealthTV could not prove the two
channels were similarly situated, which was a requirement for a showing of
discrimination. It said it found Wealth TV's arguments
"unpersuasive."

The
court said the FCC's finding that the two channels were not similarly situated
was supported by "substantial evidence."

Comcast
had outlined its business reasons as "cost of carriage, the uncertain
consumer appeal of WealthTV's programming, bandwidth constraints, the fact that
WealthTV had attracted relatively few carriage agreements, the lack of
experience of its owners in the programming business, and absence of outside
investment support."

"We
are pleased that this drawn-out litigation is finally over, and are gratified
that the court has confirmed what both the FCC and an Administrative Law Judge
had already concluded -- that WealthTV's allegations of program carriage
discrimination were entirely baseless," said Comcast in a statement.

In
June 2011, the FCC denied the program carriage complaint of WealthTV, the last
of a group of such complaints that went before an FCC Administrative Law Judge
and the only one that was not settled before the commission had to make that
call. The vote was unanimous.

September
October