MSOs demand News/DirecTV conditions

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A group of cable operators Tuesday unveiled two conditions they want the
Federal Communications Commission to impose on the proposed News Corp./DirecTV Inc.
combination.

Without conditions, they said, News Corp. could threaten to withhold high-value
regional sports networks and Fox broadcast stations as a way to jack up fees
cable systems must pay for the programming.

Absent the requirements, "The transaction harms competition and consumer
welfare by affording News Corp. undue pricing power that will yield higher cable
rates and/or increase the likelihood of service interruptions for customers,"
wrote attorneys for Advance/Newhouse Communications, Cable One Inc., Cox Communications Inc. and Insight
Communications Co. Inc.

Specifically, the companies demanded that News Corp. be banned from requiring
that cable operators offer regional sports networks to all subscribers and from
requiring that News Corp. cable channels be carried on the most popular channel
tiers as condition of permission to carry Fox owned-and-operated stations.

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