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Comcast-NBC deal terms may kill Hulu edge over web, iTunes

updated 08:35 am EST, Fri December 24, 2010

Comcast-NBC merger may force non-exclusive

The FCC's leaked Comcast-NBC merger terms may host Hulu its main advantage, an early analysis brought out. Hulu's requirements for semi-exclusivity with free content, where studios can only either offer it on Hulu or on their own sites, might be challenged by an FCC mandate to syndicate video to competitors. NBC might have to not only allow syndication to outside providers but might have to do so outside of Hulu, possibly depriving any chance for Hulu to do so itself.

As the details aren't official, it's unknown if the rule would go so far. FCC officials might only want to require that Comcast impose no terms of its own on Hulu, allowing its outside partner to make deals that involve NBC shows, AllThingsD speculated. Such a deal might not necessarily preclude NBC making deals of its own.

Publicly, the FCC has only said it would put "tough" conditions on the Comcast-NBC merger if it was approved in a vote early next year. The deal could nonetheless give websites like AOL and Yahoo the option of negotiating with NBC directly but would also prevent a merged Comcast-NBC from giving Hulu any exclusives and withholding its material from other services, including iTunes, Netflix and similar alternatives.

The rules as slipped out wouldn't require the merged company to offer video at all costs and would still let it avoid deals where it can reasonably say the prices are unreasonable. NBC has stayed off of the new Apple TV's episode rental system under the guise that it isn't profitable, but Apple might use the FCC rules to challenge that claim.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. Jeriff Cheng

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  1. ezylstra

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 1999


    Christmas Eve sloppiness

    1. The first comment is SPAM, yet it still stays midway through the day. Why?

    2. "merger terms may host Hulu" >> "merger terms may cost Hulu".

  1. charlituna

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2009


    my concern

    is not so much what Comcast does with Hulu but what it does with everything else. Like removing shows from itunes and Amazon so you have to go to hulu. Or blocking other streaming sites like ABC so you have to go to hulu. Particularly if they start charging for all access to the site.

    I would have been happy to pay for hulu if they dropped the ads but if I"m going to have to deal with those I'd rather just go direct to the source as much as I can. I don't want my ISP gaining the power to force me to their profit source

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