The Federal Communications Commission announced today that Comcast has to give Bloomberg’s business channel a better spot on the cable giant’s system. The Commission’s Media Bureau, citing conditions of Comcast’s 2011 merger with NBCUniversal, ruled “the news neighborhooding condition requires Comcast to carry all independent news and business news channels in a neighborhood if it places any such programming in a neighborhood of similar programming.”
“We are pleased the FCC had the foresight to include the news neighborhooding condition in the Comcast/NBCU merger order and the willingness to enforce it,” said Greg Babyak, Bloomberg’s Head of Government Affairs after the ruling.
Comcast, on the other hand, was not pleased. “We respectfully disagree with the Media Bureau’s interpretation of the ‘neighborhooding’ condition, which so clearly rewrites the history and any permissible underlying rationale for the condition,” said Sena Fitzmaurice, Comcast Communications VP. “We plan to immediately appeal to the full Commission and believe they will agree to enforce only conditions as they were originally negotiated and intended and that the Media Bureau’s mis-interpretation will be overturned.”
In its initial complaint Bloomberg had claimed that Comcast was favoring its own news channels CNBC and MSNBC over others. This was a position that Bloomberg had also expressed when Comcast first began the process of purchasing NBCUniversal back in 2010. Comcast has 60 days to comply with the FCC ruling.