Bloomberg TV says Tennis Channel win over Comcast boosts its case
The Tennis Channel isn't the only network popping champagne in the wake of a ruling by a Federal Communications Commission judge that cable giant Comcast Corp. discriminated against it in favor of its own sports channels.
Bloomberg, parent of cable business channel Bloomberg TV, thinks the FCC judge's decision regarding the small Tennis Channel will bolster its own fight against Comcast to be distributed similarly to CNBC, which is a unit of Comcast.
"Today's decision is further proof of what we already know, that Comcast abuses its dominant position against independent programmers like Bloomberg TV," said Greg Babyak, Bloomberg's government affairs chief.
The two cases are somewhat different. The Tennis Channel argued that Comcast gives favorable treatment to its own sports channels Versus and the Golf Network. Versus and Golf, Tennis Channel charged, got placed on more widely distributed packages of channels to Comcast subscribers. To get Tennis Channel, a subscriber had to buy a specialty tier of networks, whereas Golf and Versus were available to the bulk of Comcast subscribers.
Bloomberg's argument has to do with where the channel is on the dial in comparison to CNBC. Bloomberg wants its channel packaged in a neighborhood with CNBC and other news channels. Bloomberg claims the government's approval of the merger between Comcast and NBCUniversal requires the cable operator to put Bloomberg near CNBC.
Comcast has countered that the merger requirements in no way forces it to move Bloomberg closer to CNBC with regard to channel position.
A Comcast spokeswoman declined to comment on Bloomberg's statement.
-- Joe Flint