Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios, Comcast Reach Carriage Deal

Deal ends contentious battle between two companies

By R. Thomas Umstead

Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios and Comcast on Thursday reached a content carriage agreement, ending a long, legal dispute that ended up at the Supreme Court.

According to the deal, Comcast extends its carriage agreement for The Weather Channel and 14 broadcast television stations owned by Allen, who is Entertainment Studios/Allen Media Group founder, Chairman and CEO and a 2019 B&C Hall of Fame inductee.

In addition, the deal also includes carriage of ES’ channels Comedy.Tv, Recipe.TV and JusticeCentral.TV on its X1 and video on demand platforms, according to both parties.

“We’re excited to begin a new phase of partnership with Comcast and Xfinity, including the distribution of our cable channels for the first time on Xfinity platforms,” said Allen in a statement.

Comcast Cable senior vice president of video and entertainment Bec Heap added: “We are pleased to have reached this multifaceted agreement that continues our long relationship with The Weather Channel while bringing Xfinity customers additional content. We look forward to an ongoing partnership.”

The deal effectively ends a five-year legal dispute between Allen and Comcast. Allen and the National Association of African American Owned Media sued Comcast in 2015, alleging that the media company conspired to keep African-American owned networks off its systems. A federal court dismissed the suit three times, but the decision was reversed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit a year ago.

Comcast appealed to the Supreme Court, which this past March ruled against the lower court ruling, saying that Allen “bears the burden” of showing that race was the “but for” cause of the alleged injury–in this case lack of carriage.

The deal comes on the heels of Comcast’s pledge to invest $100 million over the next three years to combat racism and advance social justice and equality.

Allen still has active a $10 billion lawsuit against Charter filed in 2016 also claiming carriage discrimination.

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