EchoStar Pushes Program Access Conditions For Liberty/DirecTV Deal
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 7/26/2007 8:22:00 AM
EchoStar has told the FCC that the satellite compeny's carriage negotiation impasse with The Big Ten Network (partly owned by News Corp.) argues for imposing stricter program access conditions on all Liberty and News Corp. programming networks.
As conditions of News Corp.'s initial purchase of DirecTV, which it is trying to sell to Liberty, News Corp. agreed to progam access conditions on affiliated programming, and stricter conditions, including the FCC's ability to compel outside arbitration, on regional sports networks to ensure that News Corp. did not strike sweetheart deals with its now co-owned satellite service.
EchoStar says The Big Ten Network is not dealing in good faith and is a regional sports network, not a national one. It asked the FCC in a letter Thursday to either clarity the definition of a regional sports network or, even better, extend the arbitration provision to all New Corp. and Liberty programming as a condition of approving Liberty's takeover of DirecTV.
Big Ten has said that it is a national network and that EchoStar's regulatory gambit is simply an effort to get the upper hand in the negotiations..
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