The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the U.S. Federal Communications Commission is looking into the tentative deal between Comcast and NBC Universal, and may enforce restrictions on the Comcast-controlled NBC in order to prevent the company from only delivering content through their own online distribution system over services such as Netflix and iTunes. Few […]
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FCC May Force the New Comcast-NBC Agreement to Sell Content to Apple

nbc-universal-logo.JPGThe Wall Street Journal is reporting that the U.S. Federal Communications Commission is looking into the tentative deal between Comcast and NBC Universal, and may enforce restrictions on the Comcast-controlled NBC in order to prevent the company from only delivering content through their own online distribution system over services such as Netflix and iTunes.

Few observers expect either the Justice Department or the Federal Communications Commission to block outright the roughly $13.75 billion deal to purchase 51% of NBC Universal from General Electric Co. One reason: Because the two companies aren’t direct competitors, it’s harder to mount an antitrust challenge.

Both agencies, however, are likely to impose significant conditions to prevent Comcast from withholding, or threatening to withhold, NBC Universal’s programming from competitors, including companies that distribute TV shows and movies over the Internet, such as Apple Inc. and Netflix Inc., according to people familiar with the matter.

Worth remembering is the fact that Apple and NBC haven’t always gotten along. Namely the incident when NBC pulled all of their content from iTunes in the fall of 2007 due to pricing. NBC finally relented a year later, and resumed selling their content on iTunes. Reportedly, NBC also didn’t sign up for Apple’s new 99¢ TV show rental, but NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker claims that this move would “devalue” their content.

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