In a legal battle pitting Comcast against the FCC over an agency order that the cable company provide similar carriage to Tennis Channel to that afforded some of its own sports fare, Comcast won, and two important members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce say the court got it right.
Fred Upton (R-MI) is chair of the full committee, and Greg Walden (R-OR) is chair of the Communications Subcommittee.
The District Court for the DC Circuit ruled that neither the FCC nor Tennis Channel proved that there was a financial benefit to Comcast that was being ignored in order to show favor to its owned channels – and without that showing there could not be a finding of discrimination.
In a joint statement, Upton and Walden said, ““The D.C. Circuit’s decision to overturn the FCC’s meddling in program carriage negotiations is welcome news. As we and 32 of our colleagues explained in a bipartisan letter last year, American viewers have unprecedented choice in the content they watch, the services that deliver it, and the devices that display it. In a dynamic market characterized by increased competition, rapidly developing technologies, and evolving business models, government intervention typically increases costs for consumers and reduces innovation. Our hope is that Acting Chairwoman Clyburn and her eventual successor will take note of this decision and begin reducing the agency’s intervention in the television marketplace.”