ACA Pushes News Corp./DirecTV Conditions

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Supporting Founder
Sep 8, 2003
Las Vegas, Nevada
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It could be crunch time for those eyeing News Corp.'s proposed takeover of DirecTV and Hughes, with organizations making last-minute pitches at the Federal Communications Commission with their view of the deal.

The most recent action involved the American Cable Association, representing small cable companies. ACA asked the FCC to place conditions on the News Corp./DirecTV deal, including guarantees allowing small cable companies access to key broadcast and satellite TV content.

Among the conditions are restraints on retransmission consent negotiations. ACA proposed a condition that aims to restrain News Corp. from using retransmission consent to disadvantage smaller cable companies. ACA also proposed a condition on program access, which aims to restrain News Corp.'s ability to use terms and conditions for carriage of News Corp. programming to disadvantage smaller cable companies.

The association also asked for conditions tied to small cable operator access to local TV. The proposal asked for conditions that would restrain News Corp.'s ability to deny rural competitors access to broadcast signals in rural areas.

"Each condition addresses a merger-specific public interest harm that will affect the most vulnerable consumers and competitors - those in smaller markets and rural areas," ACA said in its letter to the FCC.

A decision from regulators on the News Corp./DirecTV transaction is expected within the next few weeks.
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