DirecTV Sends Letter to FCC About Fox Ads

DirecTV has sent a letter to the FCC complaining about Fox advertising related to their cable programming dispute.

In a letter to Media Bureau Chief Bill Lake, the satellite operator says that Fox is "using misleading advertising informing DIRECTV customers that 'soon, in some markets, you may lose your local Fox station,' even though our retransmission consent agreement does not expire for over two months."

They are currently in a battle over a Fox Cable Networks agreement, which expires Nov. 1, but their retrans deal for Fox-owned stations does not expire until the end of the year, DirecTV points out.

DirecTV adds that Fox has also "refused to provide us a separate offer for the continued carriage of its broadcast stations."

DirecTV says it has asked Fox to stop running the ads, but that it has not done so.

The FCC is currently considering clarifying the definition of good faith retrans negotiations. DirecTV told Lake that is purposely trying to confuse and alarm consumers, and suggests that would not be in the definition of good faith bargaining. "Such conduct is certainly not what the Commission had in mind when it made Fox a steward of the nation's airwaves entrusted to serve the public interest," said DirecTV executive VP, content strategy and development, Derek Chang, in the letter, which was dated Oct. 27.

Fox was unavailable for comment at press time.

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.