“Comcast Corp. has acquired rights from cable network owners to offer their channels nationwide, according to people familiar with the negotiations, giving the biggest U.S. cable operator a backup plan if rival online-TV services catch on with consumers,” Bloomberg reports.
Bloomberg’s sources say the rights allow Comcast for the first time to sell video service outside its regional territories, which include Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia. The sources asked not to be identified because they are discussing private information.
“In most cases, Comcast acquired the rights through ‘most favored nation’ clauses in contracts, which let the company sell channels in the same places as new online distributors,” Bloomberg notes. “Since Comcast doesn’t sell traditional cable-TV service in markets like New York and Los Angeles, the rights mean the company could presumably offer a package of channels as an online-streaming service in those cities.”
The report adds: “In some scenarios, Comcast asked for the rights as part of broader carriage negotiations with programmers. For now at least, Comcast has no plans to offer a video service nationwide because it still sees opportunity to gain cable-TV subscribers in its footprint, according to a person close to the company.”