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Report: Comcast buys rights to stream channels across US

Comcast Corp. picked up rights from cable network owners to offer channels online across the U.S., Bloomberg News reported March 23, citing sources with knowledge of the talks.

As part of the arrangement, Comcast can now sell its video service in areas outside its regional territories, including Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia. The company reportedly acquired the rights in most cases via "most favored nation" clauses in contracts. The clauses allow the company to sell channels in the same places as new online distributors. The company reportedly bagged the rights as part of broader carriage negotiations with programmers in some cases.

Comcast, however, is currently more focused on increasing its user base in its footprint than launching a video service nationwide, and the move is part of a backup plan to better compete with online-TV services in case they gain more traction, according to the report.

The company has not picked up streaming rights from some of its partners that have long-terms agreements with the company, the sources said.