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Comcast could get dragged kicking and screaming into joining Apple’s TV service

Published Mar 18th, 2015 6:40PM EDT
Comcast Apple TV

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Despite initial reports that content from NBCUniversal (which is owned by Comcast) won’t be a part Apple’s rumored TV streaming service, contract terms Comcast agreed to when it acquired NBCUniversal back in 2011 may force the media giant’s hand.

To pass regulatory scrutiny, Comcast a few years ago agreed that it would make NBCUniversal content available to online video distributors at rates that were comparable to the rates it charges cable providers to carry that same content.

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Furthermore, AppleInsider adds that Comcast’s negotiating power may be stifled by Apple’s contract terms with other broadcast networks.

Additionally, if an online video service strikes a deal with one of NBC’s peers — such as CBS — Comcast is obligated to license “comparable” content at “economically comparable” rates. For example, if Apple’s new service were to carry first-run CBS programming, Comcast must makes its own first-run programming available at roughly the same rates as those negotiated between Apple and CBS.

It will be extremely interesting to see how this plays out. For starters, an Apple streaming service with no NBC content is, to be blunt, a subpar offering. At the same time, Comcast is notoriously boneheaded and shortsighted when it comes to protecting its empire. And sometimes, Comcast’s actions are downright nonsensical. To wit, Comcast a few weeks ago began blocking PS4 owners from accessing the HBO GO app. Notably, Comcast was the only ISP to create such a strange hurdle.

Hopefully, this can all be sorted out well ahead of the rumored September launch of Apple’s streaming TV service. Should Apple and Comcast remain at loggerheads over contract terms, the New York Post relays that Apple could file a complaint with the FCC to get the matter resolved quickly.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.

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