NBC Affils Ask FCC to Extend Comcast/NBCU Conditions

NBC affiliates want the FCC to extend the conditions it imposed in Comcast's purchase of NBCU as a condition of approving the Time Warner Cable merger by up to 10 years. Most of those are set to expire in 2018.

In comments at the FCC on the deal, the NBC TV Affiliates association said it had potential issues with the combined company's ability to favor the cable side over the free TV business and network-affiliate partnership, though it said it was in "constructive discussions" with Comcast to address those issues.

After similar discussions, the affiliates struck an agreement with Comcast in the NBCU deal on voluntary conditions to "protect the future of free, over-the-air TV," which the FCC made enforceable and buttressed with some conditions on its own.

Among the issues affiliates are concerned about are migration of sports to Comcast cable nets, Comcast's incentive to "interfere" with retrans negotiations and the impact on the ad market.

"It is clear that approval of the transaction should be conditioned on an extension of the expiring conditions that were imposed by the Commission in connection with the Comcast-NBCU merger to safeguard the NBC network-affiliation," they told the FCC.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.