Comcast to FCC: Bloomberg Claim of Channel Relocations Is Wrong


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.

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, Comcast said the alleged channel relocations never happened. Moreover, it averred that Bloomberg's assertion is based on a flawed definition of news neighborhood, which, according to the MSO represents 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 asserted, 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, according to Comcast, MSBC and the other channels remain in the same channel positions they were in prior to the January 2011 close of the deal. The MSO also said it did not create new news neighborhoods in Crescent City or Claxton. In Claxton, according to Comcast, "CNBC, MSNBC, CNN, HLN, and Fox News Channel occupied the same channel positions on the Claxton lineup throughout 2011 and 2012." In fact, the distributor said, 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.

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."