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Web Video at Heart of FCC's Comcast-NBC Review

Light Reading
LR Cable News Analysis
Light Reading
12/27/2010

Good evening, cable gang. As the northeast digs out of a blizzard, we have items ranging from a piece about a Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) van involved in a fender bender to more substantial news involving the MSO’s merger with NBC Universal in today’s cable news roundup.

  • Most of the conditions the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering placing on Comcast’s merger with NBC Universal appear to focus on Web video. FCC chairman Julius Genachowski is proposing that Comcast should be prohibited from forcing customers to subscribe to a pay-TV package in order to get access to NBC Universal content, The Associated Press reports.

    Genachowski also wants to require Comcast to make NBCU programming available to Web rivals and to offer subscribers an affordable standalone broadband Internet access option. The MSO would be prohibited from interfering with online traffic, according to Genashowski’s draft order. (See Comcast Proposes Conditions for NBCU Merger and FCC Eyes Conditions for Comcast-NBCU Merger.)

  • Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) launched a FiOS Mobile app for FiOS TV subscribers that own an Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPad. While Verizon showed reporters a prototype iPad app that delivered live video from cable networks, for now subscribers can only use the app as a remote control and to manage their DVR. Verizon said it’ll add new features to the app in the next few months. (See Verizon FiOS App Streams NFL Games to iPads and Verizon Goes iPad Crazy.)

  • After rival home-shopping channel QVC rolled out an iPad app in November, HSN Inc. last week launched an iPad app that allows users to view streaming video from 15 VoD channels and buy products. (See HSN’s 'T-Commerce' App Gains Traction.)

  • While AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) continues to expand its U-verse TV footprint in Kentucky, incumbent Insight Communications Co. Inc. claims it is gaining new customers. (See Insight Battles U-Verse With $95 Wideband.)

  • Among the fender benders that resulted from Sunday’s blizzard was one involving a Comcast van in Haverford, Conn. No injuries were reported, according to news site Patch.com .

    — Steve Donohue, Special to Light Reading Cable

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