FCC: Tennis Channel Wins Comcast Battle
The cable system channel dial position for networks in similar programming niches needs to be fairly assigned, says the Federal Communications Commission.
upheld an early ruling against Comcast Corp. on Tuesday in favor of The Tennis Channel, saying the cable system operator discriminated against niche-sports network by putting it in a lesser position,
as compared with Comcast's own sports channels: Golf Channel and NBC Sports Network.
The ruling could be seen as groundbreaking.
For the first time, the FCC has upheld a program
carriage complaint by an independent programmer. Other indie programmers could follow Tennis Channel in their efforts for better distribution to garner better ratings and higher advertising sales.
Still, the FCC didn't say exactly where Comcast should place The Tennis Channel on the dial.
Comcast said it plans to appeal the ruling in federal court. Late last year, an administrative law judge ruled that Comcast discriminated against the Tennis Channel, ordering Comcast to move the Tennis Channel and pay a $375,000 fine.
Dissenting FCC commissioners say other cable system companies put the Tennis Channel with other specialty sports networks. They did not believe Comcast had discriminated against the network.