On the Call: Comcast on broadcast fee disputes

AP News
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Posted: Oct 27, 2010 3:52 PM
On the Call: Comcast on broadcast fee disputes

Comcast Corp.'s third-quarter earnings release came at a moment of tension in the TV business.

Subscribers of rival Cablevision Systems Corp. haven't been able to watch Fox programming for more than a week because of a fight over how much Cablevision should have to pay to carry the network.

This type of dispute has become more common as broadcasters look for new sources of revenue outside of selling commercial time.

Comcast, the country's biggest cable company, is about to find itself on both sides of this clash as it looks to close its acquisition of NBC Universal, which owns NBC stations.

The issue came up Wednesday in a conference call with analysts, who wanted to know how the company thinks these disputes should be handled. Chief Operating Officer Steve Burke, who is in line to take over NBC Universal, offered his thoughts.

ANSWER: I think we have consistently said that with this new transaction we can hopefully play a constructive role in any new thinking that has to take place around the space.

At this point, by being a cable operator and a broadcaster, perhaps we can foster ideas that will not have the consumer be caught in the middle there. So we will just have to take it one step at a time but there is an opportunity to play a constructive role.