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Comcast Must Put Bloomberg TV Among News Channels, FCC Says

Comcast (CMCSA) Corp. must carry Bloomberg Television near other news channels on cable systems in the 35 largest U.S. media markets, the Federal Communications Commission said today.

Comcast agreed to a requirement to have “news neighborhooding” when it purchased NBC Universal last year, the FCC said today as it ruled in a complaint brought by New York- based Bloomberg LP, parent of Bloomberg TV and Bloomberg News.

“The news neighborhooding condition requires Comcast to carry all independent news and business news channels in a neighborhood if it places any such programming in a neighborhood of similar programming,” said the order, signed by William Lake, the FCC’s media bureau chief.

Comcast, the largest U.S. cable company by revenue and subscribers, will ask the FCC’s commissioners to overturn the decision, Sena Fitzmaurice, a spokeswoman for the cable company, said in an e-mailed statement.

The commissioners “will agree to enforce only conditions as they were originally negotiated and intended,” Fitzmaurice said.

Bloomberg, CNBC

Bloomberg TV can’t pick where it’s placed and Comcast, which owns CNBC, isn’t required to put the two business-news channels near each other, the FCC said. Bloomberg TV also isn’t owed placement in more than one news neighborhood on a Comcast system, it said.

The FCC ordered Philadelphia-based Comcast to present a list of localities where Bloomberg TV is to be carried in a news neighborhood.

A news neighborhood is defined as an area of a cable system lineup where four news channels are within five adjacent positions, the agency said.

“We are pleased the FCC had the foresight to include the news neighborhooding condition in the Comcast/NBCU merger order,” and was willing to enforce it, Greg Babyak, Bloomberg’s head of government affairs, said in an e-mailed comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Todd Shields in Washington at tshields3@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Bernard Kohn at bkohn2@bloomberg.net

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