EchoStar, DirecTV Sue Over Ohio Tax
Columbus, Ohio— Shortly after Ohio Gov. Bob Taft signed it into law, DBS operators went to court last week to block a 6% sales tax on satellite-TV service. The tax is discriminatory because it was not imposed on local cable-television services, argued officials from DirecTV and EchoStar, and is unconstitutional.
Several states have imposed sales taxes on DBS. Cable companies have lobbied for DBS-only taxes in many states, arguing that it is a way to balance against the local franchise fees they pay and to eliminate what they say is in an unfair cost advantage that helps DBS keep subscriber prices lower than cable competitors.
Report: AMC Draws DOJ Attention
New York— The Department of Justice is investigating the financial scandal at AMC, Long Island's Newsday reported last Friday. The probe by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Brooklyn and the FBI, according to sources, is expected to determine whether the accounting rises to the level of criminal activity. On June 19, Cablevision, which is cooperating with the probe, fired AMC chief Kate McEnroe (above) and 13 other executives and staffers for accounting irregularities at AMC Networks over three years.
DGA Diversity Report Is 'White' Paper
Los Angeles— A new Directors Guild of America study says the broadcast networks still aren't hiring many more women and minority directors for their high-profile series.
The study, of the "top 40" prime time scripted series, found that 82% of the episodes are directed by "Caucasian males," 11% by women, 5% by African-Americans, 2% by Latinos and 1% by Asians.
Those statistics have been "virtually unchanged" over the past three years, with the exception of the increase from 3% to 5% for African-American directors.