Comcast targeted by indie religious network Word for dropping channel

Comcast Center headquarters in Philadelphia. Image: Comcast

The operators of African-American-targeted religious programming channel The Word Network have launched a media assault on Comcast, claiming the MSO arbitrarily pulled the network off its service in “certain key markets.”

Owned by Adell Broadcasting Corp., Word Network has devoted its website to the cause, with a homepage takeover ad urging users to “drop Comcast Xfinity.” 

The channel’s operators also sent out a press release today, saying that Rev. Jesse Jackson has personally called Comcast executives on its behalf.

The channel also claims that an unnamed Comcast “senior VP of content acquisition” gave them a shrill — and somewhat hard-to-believe sounding — reason for dropping their network: “Because we are Comcast, and we can.”

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"The black church community takes high offense to the dismissive actions of Comcast cable to (turn) off the most reputable vehicle of the black church without cause. This would never be done to a white Christian network without provocation. We will not go away quietly," states Pastor Jamal Bryant.

Comcast rep John Demming told FierceCable that the MSO still carries Word in millions of homes in the Midwest and South. But the MSO chose to reduce distribution of the channel in the Western and Eastern portions of the country, based on viewer consumption patterns. 

Concurrently, the rep said, Comcast chose to increase distribution of minority-owned “ministerial” channel Impact Network in those same regions. Demming said Word is not minority-owned.

With diversity mandates tied to the 2011 acquisition of NBCUniversal, Comcast can’t afford to take such media assaults lightly. 

Last month, the conglomerate announced that it will launch two new networks targeting Hispanic kids.