But Fitzmaurice argued that the Tennis Channel's case and Bloomberg TV's "are totally different." Bloomberg TV is in a basic package where Tennis Channel was in an extra paid tier, she argued, adding that Bloomberg TV is a relatively new channel compared to the other news networks and Bloomberg TV is stationed next to C-SPAN channels which is an important spot for D.C. markets.
Nonetheless, the Tennis Channel ruling could spur other networks to challenge Comcast along similar lines. In 2012, several independent networks will be renegotiating their carriage deals, meaning several new cases could be raised.
Tennis Channel's complaint differs from Bloomberg TV's, as Bloomberg is on the same tier as the other networks, just in a different location.
In the Tennis Channel ruling, Sippel wrote "the requirement of non-discriminatory treatment also requires Comcast Cable to provide Tennis Channel with equitable treatment as to channel placement." The possibility of applying the principle to Bloomberg TV as well as other networks considering action is not outside the realm of possibility.
"Yesterday's decision in the Tennis Channel case is a victory for independent programmers and further proof that Comcast is abusing its dominant position. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski was correct to condition approval of the merger on the requirement that independent channels like Bloomberg TV be included within news neighborhoods," Bloomberg Government Affairs Chief Greg Babyak told Hotline On Call. "We are confident the FCC will move promptly to enforce its own order."