DirecTV Open to 'Mediation' Over Dodger Dispute - Broadcasting & Cable

DirecTV Open to 'Mediation' Over Dodger Dispute

But says it is not ready to submit impasse to third-party arbitrator
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DirecTV is not ready yet to submit its bid for carriage of TWC's SportsNet LA into arbitration, according to the latest statement from the company, but it is open to "mediation."

"We will continue to have discussions in good faith and will consider mediation, rather than arbitration, to reach a deal that benefits all of our customers. But any such talks must include all TV providers in the area as well as compromise by the ownership of the Dodgers to be meaningful," DirecTV said in a statement.

Time Warner Cable has said it was willing to accept outside arbitration to resolve the current carriage dispute, which has drawn comment from Capitol Hill (notably a bunch of unhappy California congressfolk) and the FCC.

Time Warner Cable launched SportsNet LA in February, but a number of distributors, including DirecTV, complained about the price — some reports put is as high as $4 per sub per month, especially when combined with other RSNs in the market — and aren't taking the network.

"Throughout our discussions with Time Warner Cable, we have always kept the best interests of our more than 1 million LA customers at the forefront, including those who don’t watch the Dodgers," said DirecTV. "It also seems that every other distributor in the market also recognizes that customers should not be forced to pay a tax nearing a half of a billion dollars for TWC’s reckless decision to create three separate, overpriced RSNs.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has urged the parties to resolve the dispute, and threatened to intervene if necessary.

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