Players Network claims the cable giant breached a contract and breached the terms of a consent decree issued at the time of the NBCU acquisition.
Comcast was preoccupied with the proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable, which is subject to regulatory approval. However, the cable giant must find time to process a $ 150 million lawsuit filed in Nevada over an agreement to launch an on-demand network for Gaming and Las Vegas Lifestyle.
Players Network, a company of Mark Bradley, took the lawsuit to a state court late last month. Comcast lawyers took it to federal court on Thursday.
According to the complaint (read in full here), Bradley’s company first developed his company to provide video for large hotels and customers. The Players Network then evolved into a pay-per-view platform offering documentaries, behind-the-scenes coverage, and entertainment news about the gaming industry, celebrities, and Las Vegas nightlife.
Bradley says he was contacted by the Comcast vice president in 2004 Peter Heumiller through a licensed video and short broadcast clips plan to teaser the sale of videos and related goods to Comcast’s subscribers. Allegedly, Comcast had such success with this model on Exercise TV.
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Eventually the companies drew up a contract for Comcast’s digital service, and according to the lawsuit, Bradley was promised help in attracting sponsors and advertisers. By October 2005, the complaint stated that the parties had signed a ten-year contract and issued a press release. According to news reports from that era, the new digital network would feature talk shows and poker seminars, and celebrities like James Caan, Jennifer Tilley, Jennifer Harmon, Chris Moneymaker, Johnny Chan and Chris Ferguson.
Players Network was supposed to program six hours a month, the lawsuit said, but Comcast allegedly never allocated enough storage to broadcast and distribute that amount. From 2009 to 2011, Players Network asked Comcast about the promised ad insertion technology, but it supposedly didn’t come either.
In 2009 Comcast took its first step to acquire NBCUniversal. The complaint cites the approval decree that Comcast made with the FCC as a condition for the merger. The consent decree contains certain mandates with which Comcast does not discriminate against smaller channels (especially those that are not affiliated with the company).
The Players Network now says that Comcast broke the deal because its partner did not increase programming as allegedly promised. The lawsuit also states: “Contrary to the promises Comcast made to the FCC, Comcast has discriminated against smaller channels such as Players Network, which violates the consent decree.” The plaintiff claims to be a third party beneficiary of Comcast’s agreement with federal regulators.
The plaintiff now claims that Comcast has “buried” its “Vegas on Demand” channel and seriously damaged the gaming network business. The lawsuit seeks a jackpot. The Players Network believes it has been damaged by more than $ 150 million. In addition to breach of contract, Comcast is being sued for alleged breach of good faith and fair dealing, breach of alleged fiduciary duties, and more.
Comcast has not yet responded to a request for comment. When we hear something we will update.
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