Comcast sent a letter to the FCC yesterday in response to a filing from Stop Mega Comcast, a coalition that opposes the deal. The filing suggested that "Comcast may be withholding affiliated NBCUniversal (“NBCU”) content in an effort to thwart the entry of potential new video competitors", referencing a recent WSJ article that said Apple wasn't talking to NBCU because of a "falling-out between Apple and NBCUniversal parent company Comcast".
Comcast's attorney Francis Buono wrote to the FCC: "Not only has NBCUniversal not ‘withheld’ programming from Apple’s new venture, Apple has not even approached NBCUniversal with such a request."
Notably, if Apple isn't talking to Comcast because of a falling out, it wouldn't need to negotiate with the company over a streaming TV service. As part of Comcast's deal for permission to acquire NBCUniversal, it agreed that it would have to license its content to an online distributor if they were able to get deals with their competitors. Essentially, if Apple can secure an agreement with the other major channels, it could force NBCUniversal to come onboard.
Apple is said to be working on offering a skinny bundle of around 25 channels for $20-$35/month. The service could be offered via a new Apple TV that is expected to feature an App Store for the first time.
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