FCC Votes to Uphold Media Bureau On Programming Contracts

Delays 3rd Party Access until Next Week for Judicial Review
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The full commission has voted to affirm the Media Bureau's decision last week rejecting challenges to the Media Bureau's decision last week on how third parties can get access to programming contracts as part of the FCC's vetting of the Comcast/Time Warner Cable and AT&T/DirecTV merger proposals. (http://www.broadcastingcable.com/news/washington/fcc-denies-challenges-p...).

The commission denied both the applications for reviewand requests for a stay.

But the commission also delayed access to the documents until next week (3 p.m. on Nov. 17) so those programmers have a chance to seek a court stay of the FCC decision.

The vote was 3-2 along party lines, with Republican commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O'Rielly dissenting. (https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-14-202A1.pdf).

The FCC Media Bureau modified the joint protective orders for the deal info to try and accommodate complaining content companies, which include CBS, Scripps Networks Interactive, Disney, Time Warner, Twenty First Century Fox, Univision and Viacom. - See more at: http://www.multichannel.com/news/fcc/fcc-denies-challenges-program-contr...

Progammers had sought to block access to sensitive commercial documents by some third parties, and had suggested their viewing be confined to the Justice Department, but the Media Bureau rejected most of the challenges to individual third-party access, and came up with those modifications to its protective orders it said would protect the contracts.

“The Commission acted today on the applications for review and stay filed by the Content Parties of the Media Bureau’s orders relating to access to programming documents filed with the Commission in connection with its review of the proposed Comcast/Time Warner Cable and AT&T/DirecTV mergers," said an FCC spokesperson late Monday. "The Commission affirmed the Media Bureau orders (with one modification) and provided that access to the documents will be delayed for seven days from today’s action.  As a result, access to the documents will begin on Monday, November 17.  The delay will allow the Content Parties to seek judicial review, including a judicial stay, before access to the documents begins.  To facilitate any judicial review, we have instructed the Applicants not to allow access to the documents before 3 pm EST on the 17th.”

Viewing will have to be in person, the FCC said, rather than remotely.