Studios Studying Comcast/NBCU


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 commissioners 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 MVPDs, 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 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.