FCC dismisses beIN Sports’ complaint against Comcast | Major Businesses | Business
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US regulator the FCC has dismissed beIN Sports’ carriage complaint against Comcast, which it filed in March. However, the dispute isn’t over yet.
bein 6 august 2018
The complaint alleged alleged that Comcast was displaying discriminatory and “patently unfair” behaviour with the terms of its renewal proposal for the network; and, that the cable giant ignored its obligations as a vertically integrated network in favour of its own soccer content and other sports-related programming.

Comcast has two wholly-owned networks that carry Sports programming - NBC Sports and NBC Universo. If found to be giving them preferential treatment, it would be in violation of the non-discrimination condition attached with the FCC’s approval of its purchase of NBCUniversal.

beIN Sports maintains that Comcast doesn’t feature most of its programming in HD, that is not fully distributed but rather relegated to premium tiers, and that Comcast hasn’t integrated the network into its authenticated TV everywhere strategy. It added on this last point that there are roughly 6,000 hours of beIN Sports programming that are not viewable to Comcast subscribers.

The FCC has dismissed the complaint, but the reason is that the commission is requesting more information.

“We note the FCC has dismissed the case without prejudice, and provided a valuable roadmap going forward,” said Antonio Briceño, beIN Sports deputy managing director for the US and Canada. “The agency specifically explained it needs a more definitive indication of what programming would be featured on our networks. We are encouraged by the fact that the FCC provided no support for Comcast’s primary arguments and feel confident in our ability to supply information consistent with the FCC’s guidance.”

beIN Sports went dark for Comcast subscribers last week, blocking access to premium Sports coverage of top football such as LaLiga — including the highly popular El Clásico between Barcelona and Real Madrid — as well as MotoGP, MotoAmerica and the WTA Conference USA.

“We are deeply disappointed that despite our best efforts over the last year to resolve the situation, millions of Comcast Xfinity subscribers have lost access to the content they love,” said Briceño. “We are happy to extend existing terms while we continue to negotiate, but unfortunately Comcast would rather continue to charge the same while taking away valuable and loved content from customers. The truth is, we face a disheartening trend of media consolidation, where the big get bigger and innovative brands like ours that serve diverse audiences get pushed-out. This is almost always to the detriment of consumers who end up paying the price. We hope it stops now.”

It was a rough week for the Sports network; shortly after losing carriage on Comcast networks last week, it went dark on Verizon FiOS.on Verizon FiOS.

“beIN Sports USA learned late [Wednesday] that despite its offer to extend its contract with Verizon on the same rates and terms, Verizon chose to abruptly cease negotiations and drop the beIN Sports channels from its platform,” said Briceño. “Verizon falsely claims that beIN sought significant rate increases. In fact, beIN offered to continue under the same modest fee increase structure it established when it launched in 2012.”

He added, “Verizon, conversely, sought to re-package beIN to higher, more expensive tiers, where customers have to pay more for the content they love. beIN will not allow Verizon to use its content in this manner and will continue its fight to achieve carriage in lower priced tiers on behalf of consumers and content partners.”

Neither Comcast nor Verizon have issued a statement on the blackouts.