Comcast says it has no plans to change NBC’s relationship with Hulu, making all the same content that is on the online video site now available in the future, according to an ex parte notice posted earlier this week. Comcast also said it believes in an “open and non-exclusive” approach to online video, and would not withhold NBC broadcast content from other video distributors or push that programming behind a TV Everywhere-type pay wall.
According to the ex parte filing, representatives from Comcast met with the FCC and Justice Department last week to discuss its philosophy regarding content access after the proposed NBC Universal deal is completed. During that meeting, Jeff Shell, president of Comcast Programming Group, said the cable company “has no intention of changing NBCU’s relationship with Hulu or NBCU’s decision to provide certain of its content to Hulu.”
At the same time, Comcast expects that any content which is now available for free or in an ad-supported format over the air or online at NBC.com would continue to remain free to consumers. Unlike cable networks such as HBO, TBS, TNT or Epix, which are creating web services that tie a user’s ability to access content to his cable subscription, Comcast says it will not migrate broadcast NBC content to the TV Everywhere model.
As for the cable properties that Comcast picks up in the deal, the cable company says that, “to the extent that Comcast makes it available online to Comcast-authenticated subscribers at sites like Xfinity TV,” it plans to also make the content available to other cable, satellite and IPTV providers “on reasonable terms” for authenticated access through their TV Everywhere services.
While Comcast says it has no plans to change its current practices, it did hedge a bit, saying “the dynamism of the online video sector makes it unwise to set in stone any plans with respect to putting content online in any particular fashion.” As a result, it said it will need the freedom to innovate and change distribution methods as business models evolve.
Related content on GigaOM Pro: New Business Models For Pay TV Services (subscription required)