It's one thing to have startup online cable company ivi TV complain to the FCC that the pending Comcast acquisition of NBC Universal could harm its business, quite another when one of the other members of the "media conglomerate club" raises a red flag. But that's apparently what Viacom, whose properties include MTV, Comedy Central and Paramount Pictures, did last week, concerned that the merger would give Comcast, the nation's largest cable operator, "increased incentive and ability to impede competition... by favoring its own content to the detriment of independent programmers."
The French company reportedly asked the FCC to "consider taking steps to safeguard competition and protect unaffiliated providers of video programming from anti-competitive practices."
Of course Viacom's motivation may also be tied to Comcast's reluctance to sign a deal to bring VOD movie channel Epix, in which Viacom is a major player, to the MSO's lineup. Then there is the vitriolic spat between Comcast and the Tennis Channel, of which Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman is a board member. Viacom's concerns are the first expressed by another major media player. Most have remained moot.
Viacom has a penchant for opposing things. It pulled The Daily Show and Colbert Report from Hulu before it became the rage, and was one of the early nay-sayers to Apple TV's 99-cent-per-episode plan that the computer giant rolled out at the September Apple TV launch, with Dauman saying, "It doesn't work for us." Neither, of course, did Google TV. Viacom is blocking its content from that platform.
- see this L.A. Times article
Viacom joins Google blockade; pulls Comedy Central, MTV
Apple's 99-cent TV episode rental plan creates rift among networks