- Sep 8, 2003
From our friends at SkyReport.com
The American Cable Association asked the Federal Communications Commission to impose strict conditions on News Corp.'s proposed takeover of DirecTV and Hughes, citing concerns with retransmission consent, program access and programming controlled by the entities.
In ex parte comments filed at the commission, the independent cable trade group said News Corp./FOX and DirecTV have not addressed the "serious risk of harm to competition and consumers, especially in the markets served by smaller cable ... in any meaningful way."
The ACA said the proposed transaction would create an entity with control over the supply of key broadcast and satellite programming for more than 1,000 smaller cable companies, and become the biggest competitor to small cable operators. "As the record demonstrates, News Corp./DirecTV will have strong incentives and ample ability to reduce or eliminate competition in many smaller markets and raise costs for consumers," the association said.
Possible conditions on the News Corp./Hughes transaction - as proposed by ACA - include: Restraining News Corp.'s ability to use retransmission consent to disadvantage smaller competitors to benefit News Corp. and DirecTV; restraining News Corp.'s ability to use terms and conditions of access to News Corp. programming to disadvantage smaller competitors; and restraining DirecTV's ability to deny smaller competitors access to local TV signals in rural areas.
"These transaction-specific conditions will help mitigate the risks of serious public interest harms in markets served by smaller cable companies," ACA said.