DirecTV Blasts Comcast/NBC Potential To Restrict Web Competition
In filing comments with the FCC concerning the Comcast-NBC merger, DirecTV says Comcast could move NBC programming to online through a "loophole" -- and deny or restrict competitors' access to that content.
More importantly, the big satellite programming service says "the transaction would permit Comcast to raise prices for NBC programming" to its TV rivals.
It offers up one major example: Comcast has withheld selling Philadelphia regional sports networks to its rivals for over a decade, "even though [the network] had significant minority partners in that entity."
DirecTV believes that even without moving entire channels, Comcast could have alternative plans. For instance, through its media platforms, it could give itself high-end HD or 3D programming and sell standard-definition programming to rival programming service competitors.
It could also "make online NBCU content available to its own systems in an earlier window than would be available to competitors." DirecTV believes Comcast could also provide NBCU programming at a faster, higher-quality online data rate, selling other programming at lower-level quality.
DirecTV adds that Comcast could favor content aggregation of TV programming where it has a full or partial financial interest.
Conversely, cable programming services, such as Time Warner, support Comcast's arguments that it would not harm rival programming services when it comes to accessing NBC Universal programming.