Comcast: Apple Hasn’t Approached Us About Licensing NBCU Nets

Comcast said Apple — rumored to be developing an Internet TV service slated to launch this fall — has not been in touch with the cable giant about licensing NBCUniversal content.

Comcast made the disclosure in a letter sent Thursday to the FCC, in which it was responding to assertions made in a filing from the Stop Mega Comcast Coalition.

That group, which is trying to block the cable company’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable, alleged that it “appears from press reports that Comcast may be withholding” NBCU content from Apple. That would represent a potential violation of the FCC’s conditions on Comcast as part of the MSO’s takeover of NBCU stipulating the programmer must license content to “legitimate” online-video providers on the same terms as other pay-TV providers.

“Not only has NBCUniversal not ‘withheld’ programming from Apple’s new venture, Apple has not even approached NBCUniversal with such a request,” Francis M. Buono, an attorney representing Comcast, wrote in the filing.

The Stop Mega Comcast Coalition filing was referencing a Wall Street Journal report that said Apple was not discussing a licensing deal for NBCU content for the planned over-the-top TV service because of a “falling out” between Apple and Comcast over a streaming-TV platform the companies had been supposedly cooking up.

In addition, Comcast added, NBCU has licensed “substantial amounts of content to Apple in connection with the platforms for which Apple has approached NBCUniversal.” Moreover, the Peacock licenses content to many other Internet-video distributors, including for Sony’s PlayStation Vue service, launched in three cities earlier this month.

The formation of the Stop Mega Comcast Coalition was led by non-profit org Public Knowledge.

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