Bloomberg calls for CNBC spin-off as Comcast/NBCU condition


Financial journalism outfit Bloomberg has been leery of the proposed merger of Comcast/NBCU pretty much since its announcement – and now it’s getting specific about its primary area of concern. It does not want Comcast having any interest whatsoever financial news cable net CNBC.

Bloomberg TV feels it is having a difficult enough time trying to catch up to CNBC as it is, without adding in the power of a major cable provider able to exert incredible influence over the fate of the two channels, along with a third competitor in Fox Business Network.

According to a Philadelphia Inquirer report, Bloomberg has said that if regulators will not require an outright spin-off, then they must impose a condition that the channels are carried in the same system channel neighborhood. Inquirer notes that on a Philadelphia area Comcast system, CNBC is on Channel 47, while Bloomberg is in the less desirable low 100s at Channel 103.

Comcast says that its long-term agreement with Bloomberg, which resulted in these channel assignments, was struck long before the company contemplated acquiring NBCU and that since then it has done nothing to disadvantage Bloomberg.

On the other hand, Consumer Federation of America’s Mark Cooper said that this is exactly the kind of anticompetitive situation that is presented by the merger, and said he is glad that Bloomberg is going public with its concerns. He said implied that there are others that should be considering doing the same.

Former FCC Chairman Kevin Martin is representing Bloomberg’s position in the merger.