A federal judge cleared the Comcast-NBC Universal deal today with the provision that the court will retain oversight of its effect on the online video market for the next two years. U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ruled in Washington that the Justice Dept and the new company must report on arbitration actions initiated by online video distributors such as Netflix or Hulu. The distributors had told the court they feared losing access to NBC content because of the merger. “Since neither the court nor the parties has a crystal ball to forecast” the effectiveness of the final judgment, the additional steps are necessary to protect the public interest, Leon wrote. The deal won approval Jan. 18 from U.S. regulators under an agreement with the FCC and Justice Dept. in a deal which required court approval of provisions regarding online video.

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