U.S. DOJ could force Comcast to offer NBCUniversal content for Apple’s Internet TV service

“Despite reportedly refusing to engage in discussions to join Apple’s rumored web television initiative, cable provider Comcast may have no choice but to eventually capitulate thanks to regulatory concessions the company agreed to in 2011 as part of its takeover of NBCUniversal,” AppleInsider reports.

“Under the final judgement, Comcast must treat online video services as essentially equal to cable companies,” AppleInsider reports. “Comcast is required to give those services access to the same NBCUniversal content that it sells to cable providers, under the same terms and conditions.”

“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,” AppleInsider reports. “If Comcast is unable to come to terms with Apple, the iPhone maker can petition the Department of Justice for permission to enter commercial arbitration.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take:

A contract is a contract. If you didn’t like it, you shouldn’t have signed it. – Tony Beets

Related article:
Apple looks to blow up the cable TV model – March 18, 2015


  1. The exclusion of Comcast from the “slim bundle” in AppleTV will force Comcast back to the table when customers continue the current “cascade” of cord cutting. Marketing “gurus” at Comcast will start adding up the subtractions to their bottom line quarterly statements.
    People are furious about their mistreatment as customers forced to buy bloated bundles.

    If Apple can get the cable high-flyer channels(HBO, ESPN, Fox, etc) then they will steam roll cable companies…..

    How many of you out there have cable bundles with 400-500 channels of stuff and a simple need for only 25 out of 400 channels……..???

    AppleTV is gonna be awesome!!

    1. Careful with talk like that. The free-market folks on this list will be all up in arms.

      Having five companies control 90% of the media in this country is and was a terrible idea. The only people who like it are the people at the top of these five companies, and the Wall St. financiers who made the billion-dollar deals possible.

  2. Of course Apple could buy Comcast and carve it up by separating the Cable/ISP operations from the rest for sale or spinoff and do as it wishes with them. This would be a favor to the tens of millions of homes currently suffering from Comcast as an ISP/Cable operator.

    It could be done many ways, but here is an example:
    1-Apple could form a wholly owned holding company funded with a credit line from or backed by Apple.
    2-Said company could tender an offer to buy Comcast and report in advance that it’s purpose would be to split up the monstrosity- avoiding many potential DoJ & FCC issues.
    3-After acquisition the holding company could sell off the entire assets of NBC/Universal- which includes a significant collection of cable/satellite channels as well as NBC and Telemundo.
    4-The owned and operated TV stations could also be sold off or spun off into a stand alone company.
    5- The Comcast cable business could be converted to an Internet delivered cable model as opposed to the digital tower of babel currently in use with the Apple TV as a head unit.

    Not going to happen, but it Apple has the assets to make it happen.

    1. Comcast market cap is $150 billion. My guess is they would sell for around $180+ billion. NBC properties could be sold off for maybe $50 billion. This means their cable business would cost around $130 billion.

      I can’t find the cost for Boeing’s new satellites, but I’m guessing worldwide communication satellite coverage would cost around $3 billion or so.

    1. Ahhhh Comcast controls the wired internet into the home (or over 60% of US homes). To say they are Blockbuster of today is to totally not understand what they do and the assets/ control they deploy.

  3. While this provides to content that Comcast’s NBCUniversal unit sells to cable providers, it does not provide to content that Comcast doesn’t sell. The NBC broadcast network is only provided to local broadcast stations (some NBC owned, but most owned by independent companies) that have the exclusive right to sell the programing for first-run consumption in the local market. Those stations, in turn, sell the programming to cable providers. They cannot sell their signal for consumption in any market that has another NBC station, and neither can the network. Any deal that allows Apple to show NBC (or ABC, CBS, Fox, etc.) programming as part of its package is going to have to deal somehow with these exclusivity agreements. Either the package offered by Apple in a given market will have to include the local content (and advertising) for the market, or the affiliates will have to be compensated in some other way.

  4. “A contract is a contract. If you didn’t like it, you shouldn’t have signed it. – Tony Beets”

    Uhm, great, didn’t that guy Beets get some under-21 year old kid Parker to sign a contract where the royalty goes up, as he mines more gold? Usually, the rates go down as your bill goes up, not down. Only taxes are regressive.

  5. I always find the agreement for allowing Comcast to buy NBC to be incredibly bizarre. It’s obvious that Comcast was NOT to be trusted. They’ve continued to prove that fact with their despicable behavior since the buyout. Why would the government, knowing Comcast was evil scum, pretend that they could REGULATE these clowns into behaving like something higher than a chimpanzee?

    No, Comcast should NOT have been allowed to buy NBC. DUH.

    No, Comcast should NOT be allowed to buy Time Warner Cable. DUH.

  6. Can someone explain how Apple is going to ensure the quality of their online TV service with Comcrap and other dumb pipe companies capping data or throttling bandwidth? Because an online TV service is going to require massive amounts of data throughput.

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