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Studios Studying Comcast/NBCU

Viacom, Time Warner, Disney weigh as FCC vets draft approval
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Viacom, Time Warner and Disney all weighed in at the FCC
this week on the Comcast/NBCU merger as FCC commissioners vetted the draft
approval in anticipation of an expected vote.

That is according to filings at the FCC on those various
meetings.

Disney is concerned about merger conditions that depend on
third-party negotiations. For example, the online access conditions are
triggered by deals with similarly situated programmers like Fox or Disney.

Disney lobbyist Susan Fox talked about potential conditions
in a conversation with FCC staffers. It is the first time Disney has weighed in
on the Comcast/NBCU docket, but the conditions on the deal did not surface
until late December, when FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski circulated a draft
approval.

Viacom D.C. execs teamed with Wealth TV to press their case
to staffers with FCC Commissioner Michael Copps and Robert McDowell. Viacom has
said before it is concerned about the impact of the merger on "the market
for independent programming."

Viacom apparently gave a shout-out to Wealth TV's proposed
merger conditions, which include the requirement that Comcast carry all
independent nets on similar terms and conditions to those of other MVPD's, and
subject complaints to baseball-style arbitration and otherwise "reform the
complaint process."

The Time Warner filing appeared to be more of a pro forma
notice that FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and Time Warner Chairman Jeff
Bewkes had talked on the phone about online video access issues the day before
they were both on a panel at the Brookings Institution, "Building a Long-Term
National Strategy on Growth through Innovation."

According to the filing, Bewkes talked about the importance
of online video models proceeding "in a way that supports the creation of
high quality programming."

The FCC's current draft approval of the deal is being vetted
by the commissioners and includes a number of access to online video models.

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