In Demand L.L.C. will not exploit a potential pay-per-view competitive
advantage over DirecTV Inc. in light of the direct-broadcast satellite service's
dispute with World Wrestling Federation Entertainment Inc.
WWFE announced during its Aug. 19 SummerSlam event that it would not
license its Sept. 23 Unforgiven PPV event or future shows to DirecTV
after the two companies failed to reach a distribution agreement. As a result,
more than 10 million DirecTV households will not have access to popular WWFE PPV
events that cable operators will offer to their subscribers.
But In Demand executives said the PPV network will not look to increase
marketing efforts or change its promotional tactics for the Unforgiven
event to capitalize on its potential PPV advantage over DirecTV.
'In Demand continues to enjoy a positive, productive relationship with the
WWF, and we will support their events,' senior vice president of programming and
development Dan York said. 'We have no intention of becoming involved in its
dispute with DirecTV.'
According to DirecTV, the dispute revolves around a 'critical economic term'
in its expired contract with WWFE that, under the terms of the agreement, it can
submit to an arbitrator. DirecTV senior vice president of programming
acquisitions Michael Thornton said WWFE has stated that it would not consider a
new deal unless DirecTV dropped its arbitration action against the
'[WWFE is] behaving like a monopolistic company by blatantly saying it would
not offer its [PPV programming] to DirecTV,' Thornton said. 'The WWF is very
important to our PPV-revenue numbers, and it's something our customers like. We
feel we're being held over a barrel.'
WWFE corporate-communications director Jayson Bernstein would only say that
it's 'unfortunate' that DirecTV chose to litigate the dispute, adding that it's
now 'unlikely' that the company will reach a deal before the September