Comcast told the FCC Tuesday that Bloomberg's claims it had relocated channels in violation of a non-networking condition in the NBCU deal is "demonstrably false."
That came in a response to Bloomberg's April 10 comments on Comcast's annual report Feb. 28 on compliance with deal conditions.
Bloomberg filed a separate complaint against Comcast over the no news neighborhooding condition, which it says Comcast has violated (http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/469601-Bloomberg_Files_Complain...).
Comcast said in its response to the April 10 comments that Bloomberg was using them to try to get a de facto FCC ruling in favor of that complaint.
In any event, says Comcast, the alleged channel relocations never happened and Bloomberg's assertion is based on a flawed definition of news neighborhood, which Comcast says is 10-15 channels grouped together, not three or four.
Bloomberg alleged that Comcast moved MSNBC into existing news neighborhoods in Bethel, Conn., and Etna, N.H., and created new neighborhoods in Crescent City, Fla., and Claxton, Ga.
Comcast asserts, as it has in response to the complaint, that the FCC's "narrowly tailored and transaction-specific Condition" on news neighborhooding does not mean that Comcast is required to relocate Bloomberg TV to three-and-four channel groupings "almost" all of which were in place "years before" the NBCU deal.
In Bethel and Etna, says Comcast, MSBC and the other channels are in the same channel positions they were in prior to the January 2011 close of the deal. It also says it did not create new news neighborhoods in Crescent City or Claxton. In Claxton, says Comcast, "CNBC, MSNBC, CNN, HLN, and Fox News Channel occupied the same channel positions on the Claxton lineup throughout 2011 and 2012." In fact, it says, the only change there was actually to boost BTV distribution by moving it from digital preferred to the digital starter tier. Similarly there were no changes in Claxton in 2011 or 2012, says Comcast.
Comcast included declarations, "on penalty of perjury," from executives with the relevant systems testifying that Comcast did not relocate channels in those markets.
"In sum, Bloomberg's latest filing is wrong -- none of the asserted 2011 and 2012 channel relocations took place. Even if Bloomberg's assertions were accepted as correct, however, they would not amount to a violation of the Condition because the groupings to which Bloomberg refers fall well short of the 10-15 channel groupings that constitute news neighborhoods within the meaning of the applicable condition."
"Yet again, Comcast has shown that it does not feel bound by the same
rules that apply to everyone else," said Greg Babyak, head of government
affairs for Bloomberg, in a statement. "Whether ignoring a
legally-binding FCC Order to which
it agreed, or ignoring the obligation to submit truthful information
about channel lineups to the industry-standard reporting service Tribune
Media Services (TMS), which is relied on by advertisers, courts and
regulators. Comcast continues to maintain that
night is day, and that ‘now' means ‘never,' apparently assuming that
regulators either won't notice or won't care."