Ivi TV: Comcast stifles competition, innovation; is meeting with FCC, lawmakers

Web-based cable operator ivi TV says it's joining the opposition, albeit belatedly, lined up against the Comcast acquisition of NBC Universal, saying the deal as it presently stands is anti-competitive.

The Seattle-based company said it has meetings set up with the FCC and several members of Congress this week, and will push for a "broad and comprehensive scrutiny of Comcast's existing contracts with cable and broadcast channels."

"Comcast would have regulators and the consuming public believe that their acquisition of NBC is not only benign, but is actually in the consumers best interest, when nothing could be further from the truth," said Todd Weaver, ivi TV's founder and CEO. "The facts are quite the contrary. Comcast has established a clear pattern and practice of requiring exclusive distribution rights in its contracts with content providers that stifles both competition and innovation."

Ivi TV, which in September launched an online cable service that now streams live some 40 channels from New York, Los Angeles, Seattle and from broadcasters around the world for $4.99 a month, said Comcast's purchases of NBCU would make it more difficult for it and other OTT delivery companies to obtain content.

"Comcast is similar to the landline phone companies who have died a slow death. They will use contractual power and exclusive access to content as a means of continuing to generate revenue from an antiquated business model delivered over yesterday's technology," Weaver said. "The Congress, DOJ, and the FCC should require Comcast to provide a level, competitive playing field in exchange for approval of their merger with NBC-Universal. DOJ and the FCC must insist that Comcast's content contracts be free of exclusivity and other contractual barriers to innovation, competition, and fair value for consumers."

For more:
- see this release

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