Advanced Television

beIN takes another shot at Comcast

February 7, 2019

By Chris Forrester

Qatar’s beIN Sports has filed an additional complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) citing US cable giant (and Sky Europe-owner) Comcast, saying that Comcast is not prepared to negotiate carriage terms on its Xfinity service in the US.

beIN alleges that Comcast is acting illegally in its refusal to negotiate.

beIN has not been available on Comcastt/Xfinity since the end of July last year, although the dispute between the two goes back to March last year. At that time beIN formally complained that Comcast was in “violation” of its carriage rules and had broken a non-discrimination condition in its agreement to buy NBC-Universal. beIN says it has more robust evidence of discrimination.

Comcast last August dropped the beIN programming, advising viewers that it no longer had the rights to carry the beIN channel. “beIN sports is asking for a major increase in fees for the channel you already have, which could have a big impact on your bill. beIN Sports won’t allow Comcast to carry its channels until this is resolved,” the August message stated.

In a statement last year beIN said: “We are deeply disappointed that despite our best efforts over the last year to resolve the situation, millions of Comcast Xfinity subscribers have lost access to the content they love. We are happy to extend existing terms while we continue to negotiate, but unfortunately Comcast would rather continue to charge the same while taking away valuable and loved content from customers,” said Antonio Briceño, beIN Sports’ deputy MD/US & Canada. “The truth is, we face a disheartening trend of media consolidation, where the big get bigger and innovative brands like ours that serve diverse audiences get pushed-out. This is almost always to the detriment of consumers who end up paying the price. We hope it stops now.”

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