IPTV distributor Sky Angel has filed both a program access complaint at the Federal Communications Commission and also asked for a standstill order on its current contract.
According to Sky Angel, Discovery Communications plans to end its agreement with the distributor within the next two weeks, more than four years before the scheduled completion of its term.
Sky Angel said Discovery has notified it that the existing affiliation agreement would terminate Apr. 22, 2010 rather than the current Dec. 31, 2014, citing concerns about the way the programming is being delivered, though without elaboration.
Sky Angel noted the move would discriminate against it in favor of other distributors, like Time Warner and Comcast, which deliver Discovery programming over the Internet.
"Discovery's threatened unfair method of competition and unfair acts are designed to hinder Sky Angel's continued growth and the possibility that Sky Angel emerges as a viable competitor to the now-dominant cable and satellite MVPDs," the company said.
Sky Angel wants the commission to prevent Discovery from pulling the plug until the complaint has been resolved, saying that it could suffer irreparable harm if the commission does not, and pointing out that the Apr. 22 date is long before any pleading cycle could be completed on the complaint, which was filed March 24.
Sky Angel migrated from satellite delivery to a pure-play Internet video distributor a couple of years back.
Sky Channel said Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, the Military Channel, and more of the programmers offerings are "among the most popular" on the service and are thus "must-have" programming.
Discovery had no comment on the filings.