News Corp. Wants Out Of DirecTV Conditions

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Washington – Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. is looking to shed key regulatory conditions imposed by the federal government when the company gained approval to take effective controls of satellite TV provider DirecTV in late 2003, the Federal Communications Commission announced Wednesday.

News Corp. told the FCC that because it transferred its roughly 40% DirecTV stake to Liberty Media in February, the agency no longer had a reason to require it comply with conditions based on an ownership interest that no longer exists.

In a March 11 FCC filing, News Corp. took aim at two conditions sought by small cable operators when the company was awaiting federal approval in 2003 to take control of DirecTV from General Motors Corp. and Hughes Electronics Corp.

Specifically, News Corp. asked to be freed from a condition that permits any cable, phone, and satellite TV distributor to trigger compulsory arbitration on the licensing of News Corp-owned regional sports networks.

News Corp. also asked to be removed from the condition that requires it enter arbitration with pay-TV distributors to resolve disputes on the carriage of News Corp.-owned TV stations.

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