FCC Gets More Input On Hulu

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The Federal Communications Commission continues to look at online program delivery in the context of the Comcast/NBCU merger.

According to a filing with the FCC, an attorney for Hulu met with a member of the commission's general counsel's office to follow-up on questions raised by the agency in an Oct. 13 meeting about quality about of service and content protection of online video distribution.

That Oct. 13 meeting, about the relationship of "linear and online content licensing and distribution" was itself a follow-up to a Sept. 21 meeting on the same subject at the request of the commission.

Hulu is part-owned by NBCU, and Comcast in a meeting with FCC staffers in August reiterated that it has "no intention" of changing NBC's decision to make some of its content available for free on Hulu. Moreover, it "expects" that the NBC programming now available on the site will not migrate elsewhere, though it also advised that given the changing marketplace, it would be "unwise to set in stone any plans with respect to putting content online in any particular fashion."

In a letter to FCC chairman Julius Genachowski last month, the American Cable Association, DirecTV and Dish Network said the commission needed to take Fox's blocking of content on Hulu into account when considering the proposed merger.

"If Fox, an entity with no affiliation to a distribution platform, was willing to deny certain viewers access to its online content in order to gain a negotiating advantage, a vertically integrated Comcast/NBCU would have an even greater incentive and ability to take similar action," they argued.

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