Court Dismisses Sky Angel Suit Against C-SPAN

A District Court dismissed on Monday over-the-top video
provider Sky Angel's antitrust suit against C-SPAN, the cable industry funded
public affairs network, but it did so without prejudice and signaled that Sky
Angel could re-file its complaint.

"We are delighted with the District Court's dismissal
of Sky Angel's antitrust lawsuit against C-SPAN," said Bruce Collins,
C-SPAN VP and general counsel. "As we said from the beginning, and the
judge has obviously agreed, Sky Angel did not have any facts to back up its
fanciful claims. C-SPAN now looks forward to continuing its public service
mission without this distraction."

Sky Angel filed an antitrust suit against C-SPAN in November 2012,
saying the public affairs net improperly withdrew its programming from the
program distributor in 2009 at the direction of a board made up of cable
operators who dominated the video distribution market and colluded to
competitively disadvantage competitor Sky Angel.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
dismissed that charge, saying Sky Angel had provided no factual context for the
alleged board member agreement.

C-SPAN had said that it had taken its programming off the
service because Sky Angel's switch to Internet-delivery of the channels
violated its contract. The court said it would not undertake a breach of
contract analysis in the pleading stage.

The court said it did have jurisdiction over Sky Angel's
antitrust claims, but that it had not made its case for violations of the
Sherman antitrust. The court said that from the facts as pleaded, it could not
conclude that a single entity wielded or threatened monopoly power over the
relevant market.

The court said that had Sky Angel been able to
make that case, it had shown real and antitrust injury. It also suggested that
if Sky Angel re-files its complaint, it will need to provide more details about
the geographic scale of national competition.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.