PHILADELPHIA (AP) —Comcast Corp. spent $3.5 million in the fourth quarter lobbying Congress on its pending acquisition of a controlling stake in NBC Universal and other issues, according to a disclosure report.
That's $420,000 more than it spent in the third quarter of 2009, when the deal to buy a 51 percent stake in NBC Universal from General Electric Co. was still uncertain. The transaction hinged on a decision by French media conglomerate Vivendi SA over selling its 20 percent stake in NBC, which it decided to do in November.
Comcast, which is based in Philadelphia, also lobbied Congress on retransmission consent issues, in which broadcasters have increasingly demanded cash from cable operators that wish to carry their stations. Historically, they've agreed to advertising swaps and other in-kind arrangements.
Broadcasters have been asking for cash in the face of an advertising slump facing their local stations.
These fee disputes have led to several high-profile recent incidents where broadcasters yanked — or threatened to pull — signals for certain channels, leaving customers without their favorite shows.
Comcast also lobbied about online security, net neutrality, sports programming and other issues in October through December period, according to a report it filed with the House clerk's office.