PxPixel
Non-NBC Affils Give Conditional Support To Comcast-NBCU - Broadcasting & Cable

Non-NBC Affils Give Conditional Support To Comcast-NBCU

ABC, CBS, Fox affiliates want fair dealing on retrans negotiations
Author:
Publish date:

A Comcast spokesperson confirms that non-NBC affiliates have filed
comments at the FCC in support of its joint venture with NBC Universal
subject to Comcast's promises of fair dealing in retransmission consent
negotiations related to the NBC stations it would own.

That sign-off follows on the
heels of the NBC affiliates agreement with Comcast to support the deal
subject to conditions relating to sports programing, retrans and not
bypassing the stations for cable delivery of network programming.

The
non-NBC affiliates were chiefly concerned about retransmission consent
since Comcast will own one of their chief competitors.

Comcast
has also promised to make its retrans deals subject to the FCC's
program-access rules.

The conditions include not carrying their
signals in any lesser format than comparable NBC stations (say, standard
definition rather than high definition).

In a joint filing
obtained by B&C, the affiliates associations said their approval was
subject to the following conditions, per an "understanding reached with
Comcast" (the conditions sunset either on the seventh anniversary of
the deal or when Comcast no longer controls the NBC broadcast network):

"Neither
Comcast nor any cable system wholly-owned by, controlled by, or under
common control with Comcast (the latter, 'Comcast Cable Systems') will
discriminate with respect to its retransmission consent negotiations
with any television broadcast station that is affiliated with the ABC,
CBS, or FOX Television Network (such stations, the 'non-NBCU Stations')
because such television broadcast station is not owned by, controlled
by, or under common control with Comcast or affiliated with the NBC or
Telemundo Television Networks. (Television stations wholly-owned by,
controlled by, or under common control with Comcast or affiliated with
the NBC or Telemundo Television Networks are referred to herein as 'NBCU
Stations.') Any competitive impact against an individual non-NBCU
Station incidental to the ordinary course of retransmission consent
negotiations will not be deemed to constitute discrimination for
purposes of this Condition 2. Not by way of limitation, differences in
retransmission consent fees or other economic consideration are not
discrimination if such differences are based on competitive marketplace
considerations.

"Comcast Cable Systems will not link or engage in
decision-making with NBCU with respect to retransmission consent
negotiations with non-NBCU Stations. NBCU will remain solely responsible
for negotiating retransmission consent of NBCU-owned broadcast stations
with non-Comcast MVPDs (i.e., multi-channel video programming
distributors), and Comcast and the Comcast Cable Systems will remain
solely responsible for negotiating retransmission consent with non-NBCU
Stations. Retransmission consent negotiations with non-NBCU Stations
will be conducted by Comcast and Comcast Cable Systems separate from,
and without influence by, NBCU and NBCU Stations.

"In advocating
its position as to whether rates, terms, and other carriage and
retransmission conditions are consistent with "competitive marketplace
conditions" in any retransmission consent complaint or any other
retransmission consent-related legal proceeding involving a non-NBCU
Station, Comcast and the Comcast Cable Systems waive their right to, and
will not rely on or cite, the terms of any retransmission consent
agreement between Comcast or a Comcast Cable System and any NBCU Station
that is entered into following announcement of the Transaction.

"Comcast
and/or any Comcast Cable System will negotiate retransmission consent
and carriage at arm's length and in good faith with respect to non-NBCU
Stations.

"Comcast will not, nor will any Comcast Cable System,
attempt to create a competitive advantage for an NBCU Station by
discriminating against any local, in-market non-NBCU Station in favor of
such NBCU Station licensed to the same market with respect to the
following technical signal carriage matters: changes in channel
positions of non-NBCU Stations; downconversion of a non-NBCU Station's
signal from digital to analog or from high definition to standard
definition; retransmission of a non-NBCU Station's digital broadcast
signal in a lesser format, lower quality, or lower resolution than that
of an NBCU Station; forced or automatic tuning of set top boxes to a
local, in-market NBCU Station; or interruption of a non-NBCU Station's
broadcast with a Comcast Cable System or NBCU Station EAS message,
unless otherwise agreed to in writing by such Station; provided,
however, that when making any comparisons between such non-NBCU Station
and any NBCU Station for purposes of this Condition 6 the following
shall be taken into account:

(i) relevant ATSC formats, data rates
and other relevant technical factors, as applicable,
(ii) the
quality of signal delivered to a Comcast Cable System's reception point
by such non-NBCU Station and by the applicable NBCU Station,
(iii) a
lower channel number is not necessarily more favorable than a higher
channel number in the same channel neighborhood, and
(iv)
over-the-air frequency, PSIP, and historical channel positioning. Any
competitive impact against an individual non-NBCU Station incidental to
the ordinary course of business will not be deemed to constitute
discrimination for purposes of this Condition."

Related