Comcast: Bloomberg's 'Neighborhooding' Allegations An Attempt to Manipulate FCC

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Comcast says that while it continues to view Bloomberg TV as a "respected business partner," the news programmer's allegations that the MSO is not honoring its 'neighborhooding' condition in the NBCU deal is baseless and an attempt to manipulate the FCC for its own gain.

Bloomberg had called on Comcast to start placing its Bloomberg TV adjacent to other news nets, saying not doing so was in violation of that deal pledge. But Comcast responded that Bloomberg's charge was based on the faulty assumption that Comcast currently engages in neighborhooding news or business nets.

Comcast pointed out that its channel placements preceded the NBCU deal and was not based on any "discriminatory motive to advantage CNBC or MSNBC or to disadvantage Bloomberg," and said that the FCC did not mean for Comcast to have to remake channel lineups in 39 states. Comcast pointed out that it has launched Bloomberg TV to 18 million subs over the past five years and continued to add the channel after the transaction with NBCU.

It also said that Bloomberg's definition of neighborhooding, which Comcast said is as few as four channels, is "inconsistent with its own advocacy before the FCC, leads to nonsensical and incoherent results, and would cause mass consumer confusion and disruption to other channels."

Comcast asked Bloomberg to reconsider its plan to file a formal complaint at the FCC and instead, "resume good faith discussions."

"In the end," said Comcast, "this entire matter reflects nothing more than an attempt by Bloomberg -- a multi-billion dollar financial services conglomerate that can and should stand on its own two feet in any negotiation -- to manipulate the FCC process for its own narrow commercial gain."

"It is unfortunate that Comcast is continuing to ignore the FCC's clear direction. The Commission told Comcast that it must include independent news channels, such as Bloomberg TV," said Greg Babyak, head of government affairs at Bloomberg. "In any news neighborhood that it carries ‘now or in the future,' the FCC's order could not be more clear about what is required of Comcast. Rather than delays and obfuscations, Comcast should respect the public interest and implement the FCC's order immediately."