Cablevision-Fox fallout: Comcast could get hurt, ivi claims success

Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) Chairman-CEO Brian Roberts believes combining his company with NBC Universal would have a soothing effect on cankerous disputes like the recently finalized but still bloody Cablevision (NYSE: CVC)-News Corp. (Nasdaq: NWSA) knife fight. Others, however, think otherwise. The vicious programmer-operator dispute has roused up those such as California Rep. Maxine Waters who are already opposed to the merger.

Waters, in a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, reiterated her concerns and said the Cablevision-Fox brouhaha just emphasized the possibility for "potential harm" should Comcast get its hands on NBC. Even worse--at least if you're Comcast--Ryan Vineyard, an RBC Capital Markets analyst, told Bloomberg Businessweek that "FCC-imposed restrictions could threaten Comcast's ability to grow affiliate fees and profitability at the network."

Comcast may be blue, but ivi TV is glowing over the dispute, claiming that it gained customers hand-over-fist as Cablevision and Fox wrangled. The little OTT provider-that-would-be, in fact, even threw down the gauntlet at News Corp. founder-chairman-CEO Rupert Murdoch, who "is used to throwing his weight around and getting his way," the company said in a quote attributable to CEO-founder Todd Weaver.

"Let Fox and Murdoch continue to rail against the inevitable. Meanwhile, significant numbers of consumers are signing up for ivi TV and watching broadcast TV live on their computers."

For more:
- see this story
- and this news release

Related articles:
America's new pastime: messing with programming access
Web cable firm ivi TV announcing content deals 'soon'
Fox-Cablevision fee battle: Dumb and Dumber Part 2
Roberts: Wearing two hats could make Comcast a peacemaker in retrans disputes

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