ACA Demands News-Hughes Conditions - Multichannel

ACA Demands News-Hughes Conditions

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Small cable operators want the federal government to block News Corp.'s
proposed merger with DirecTV Inc. parent Hughes Electronics Corp. unless
approval comes with a raft of competitive safeguards.

The American Cable Association -- a trade group that lobbies for 1,000 small
cable companies serving 8 million subscribers -- issued its call for tough
conditions in comments filed Monday at the Federal Communications
Commission.

In the comments, the ACA claimed that News Corp.'s union with DirecTV would
represent such an omnipotent force in the programming, broadcasting and pay TV
markets that small cable operators need the protection of merger conditions in
order to survive.

"With control of DirecTV, News Corp. will have strong incentives to use every
means available to disadvantage smaller cable companies," the ACA said, adding
that the merger "could virtually eliminate the smaller cable sector within six
years of closing."

The trade group demanded fair access to News Corp.'s Fox TV stations and
cable programming, as well as access to all DirecTV programming, such as "NFL
Sunday Ticket" and retransmitted local TV signals in relevant markets.

"Absent verifiable and enforceable safeguards, the commission must deny the
application," the ACA said.

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