Ivi Takes Opposition To Comcast/NBCU Deal To Washington - Broadcasting & Cable

Ivi Takes Opposition To Comcast/NBCU Deal To Washington

Will also discuss challenges with its online streaming video service
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Ivi TV is taking its criticisms of Comcast to Washington this week.

Ivi execs will be in town to talk more with FCC staffers about its online streaming service as well as arguing about Comcast's "contractual roadblocks" to online video distribution in programming deals generally. Ivi is an online video distributor that is being sued by broadcasters, including NBC, for retransmitting TV station signals without first negotiating a retransmission consent payment for doing so.

Joining other deal critics calling for online access conditions, ivi says it is opposed to the merger as currently constituted. "DOJ and the FCC must insist that Comcast's content contracts be free of exclusivity and other contractual barriers to innovation, competition, and fair value for consumers," said ivi TV CEO Todd Weaver in a statement early Monday.

Weaver last month discussed his concerns about the deal with with FCC staffers, saying Comcast's "roadblocks" had prevented him from building his businesses and offering lower-cost online programming.

At the time Weaver supplied a list of the cable channels he said had some kind of online exclusivity provisions in their Comcast contracts or were concerned about steps Comcast could take to disadvantage their channels if they struck online deals outside of the contract or had trouble striking deals with Comcast. They included channels that already have a carriage bone to pick with the company over traditional carriage--Tennis Channel and Wealth TV--as well as the Documentary Channel, Univision, and Northwest Cable News.

Comcast points out that it has a long-term contract with Tennis Channel that mirrors those of other operators, and that most major operators don't carry Wealth TV at all, and that an FCC administrative law judge has already found their programming carriage complaint to be without merit (the full commission has yet to rule, however).

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