Policy

Carriage Talks Stall For CSN in Philly

8/09/2010 12:01 AM Eastern

Washington — There continued to be no love lost
in the City of Brotherly Love last week over satellite carriage
of a Comcast regional sports network.

Dish Network last week said Comcast has refused to
negotiate “in good faith” to make its Comcast SportsNet
Philadelphia channel available to Dish customers, and
it plans to complain to the FCC about it. That complaint
was expected to be filed any day, as was one from DirecTV,
though neither company was commenting on
the filings.

The FCC has invited multichannel providers seeking
access to terrestrial networks, including CSN Philadelphia,
to re-file their complaints.

Sources familiar with the discussions had earlier
said Comcast and Dish had talks about carriage. Dish
said Comcast is “inappropriately” using its leverage
over must-have sports programming to “drive onerous
terms for its other programming properties.”

Dish had requested access to the terrestrially delivered
regional sports network after the FCC ruled
in January that a distributor withholding a terrestrially
delivered co-owned programming network from
a satellite competitor could be subject to a programaccess
complaint.

The FCC order is not an automatic ticket to carriage,
though. The commission also said a satellite operator or
other competitor still has to demonstrate competitive
harms and said it would take a case-by-case approach.
Even practices the FCC calls “unfair” need to “significantly hinder competition” to be subject to programaccess
rules, it said.

Comcast has vocally objected to being compelled to
make CSN Philadelphia available to satellite competitors
because of DirecTV’s exclusive contract with the
National Football League for the “NFL Sunday Ticket”
package of out-of-market games.

March