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Comcast and NBC make more promises to FCC in return for deal approval

January 11, 2011 |  7:45 am

Comcast Corp. and NBC Universal made new promises to the Federal Communications Commission that the companies hope will help get the regulatory agency to approve the proposed deal between the media giants.

In a letter to the FCC, Comcast and NBC Universal made several commitments including one to spend $75 million over the next five years on public service announcements to promote literacy, fight childhood obesity and encourage use of parental controls on TV sets.

On the programming front, the companies said they would beef up news aimed at the Hispanic market, children's programming, as well as limit the types of commercials that can appear in shows aimed at kids on its channels.

Specifically, the companies said they would produce 1,000 hours of additional local news programming a year for three years for NBC Universal's Spanish-language TV stations. This move echos a similar promise that was made when the deal was unveiled to greatly increase the amount of local news and public affairs programming on the NBC-owned TV stations.

On the kids front, Comcast said it would put limits on the types of advertising allowed in children's programming. Specifically, the cable company said it would not put any so-called interactive advertisements in kids programming where the primary audience is younger than 12. Currently, advertisements that allow for viewers to access more information with a touch of their remote are rare, but as technology improves they will become more commonplace. Among the channels Comcast said it would place interactive ads in are Nickelodeon, Disney Channel and Sprout.

— Joe Flint