Responding to the latest back-and-forth from a coalition opposing its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) shot back at the assertion that it rejected an opportunity to have NBCUniversal participate in Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) upcoming over-the-top pay-TV service.
"Notably, the plain facts undermine Stop Mega Comcast's latest salvo," reads a Thursday FCC filing, written by Comcast attorney Francis M. Buono.
"Not only has NBCUniversal not 'withheld' programming from Apple's new venture, Apple has not even approached NBCUniversal with such a request," Buono added. "Meanwhile, NBCUniversal has licensed substantial amounts of content to Apple in connection with the platforms for which Apple has approached NBCUniversal. And, of course, NBCUniversal provides substantial content to many other OVDs, and recently has licensed programming to Sony for its new linear Vue service. In short, there is nothing to this allegation Stop Mega Comcast seeks to perpetuate."
Including a broad membership base that includes Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH), Glenn Beck's TheBlaze, the Consumers Union and the Writers Guild of America, Stop Mega Comcast wrote its own letter to the FCC Wednesday, suggesting that Comcast has a reluctance to participate in the OTT programming efforts of rivals. Such an unwillingness could prove especially problematic, the group argued, if Comcast's market power were to be enhanced by TWC.
"It appears from press reports that Comcast may be withholding its affiliated NBC Universal content in an effort to thwart the entry of potential new video competitors," Stop Mega Comcast stated.
Apple TV was in talks with Comcast in 2014 to jointly launch an over-the-top pay-TV service. But Apple reportedly grew frustrated, suspecting the cable giant of dragging its feet for the purpose of supporting its own streaming venture.
Apple is currently in talks with every major programming conglomerate that owns a major broadcasting network--the Walt Disney Company, 21st Century Fox and CBS Corp.
Notably, however, it is not talking to NBCU.
- read this Comcast FCC filing
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