DirecTV Wants Fox To Stop Running Ads About Potential Station Drops

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DirecTV has sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission complaining about Fox advertising related to their cable programming dispute.

In the missive to Media Bureau chief Bill Lake, the top satellite operator said that Fox is using misleading advertising
informing DirecTV customers that " 'soon, in some markets, you may lose your local Fox station,' even though our retransmission-consent agreement does not expire for over two months."

The parties are currently engaged in a battle over the programmer seeking an increase in license fees for FX, National Geographic Channel, Speed, Fuel TV, Fox Soccer, Fox Soccer Plus, Fox Movie Channel, Fox Deportes and the 19 Fox regional sports networks.

Fox Cable Networks' agreement with the DBS giant expires Nov. 1, but their retrans deal for Fox-owned stations does not expire until year-end, DirecTV pointed out in the missive to Lake. 

The provider added that Fox has also "refused to provide us a separate offer for the continued carriage of its broadcast stations."

DirecTV says it has asked Fox to stop running the ads, but that the programmer has not done so.

Fox was unavailable for comment at press time.

The FCC is currently considering clarifying the definition of good faith retrans negotiations. DirecTV told Lake that is purposely trying to confuse and alarm consumers, and suggests that would not be in the definition of good faith bargaining.

"Such conduct is certainly not what the Commission had in mind when it made Fox a steward of the nation's airwaves entrusted to serve the public interest," said DirecTV executive vice president of content strategy and development Derek Chang in the letter, which was dated Oct. 27.