SBD/Closing Bell

Bloomberg Supports FCC Ruling In Comcast-Tennis Channel Dispute

Bloomberg LP this week urged a federal appeals court to let stand an FCC decision finding Comcast had discriminated against Tennis Channel by placing the outlet on a sports tier. The news-gathering and financial info seller filed a friend of the court brief, noting it is also engaged in a dispute with Comcast over where its own Bloomberg TV channel should be housed on Comcast’s system. The FCC ruled in Tennis Channel’s favor last year and ordered Comcast to improve Tennis Channel’s status on the cable operator’s system. But Comcast appealed the decision to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, which is scheduled to hear oral arguments Feb. 25.

“Bloomberg is keenly aware of the incentives that cable MVPDs [multichannel video programming distributors like Comcast] have to harm and discriminate against independent programmers in favor of affiliated programming and the absolutely essential need for a fair and effective process for hearing and deciding program carriage complaints,” Bloomberg said in its filing. When the FCC ruled in Tennis Channel’s favor, agreeing Comcast had discriminated against the independent channel in favor of those owned by Comcast, it was the first such decision in favor of a non-affiliated programmer in the 20 years since Congress passed the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act.
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