The broadcaster asks the FCC for ’emeregency” relief, claiming the satellite provider is not negotiating in good faith over a new distribution contract.
Frustrated in its effort to cut a new retransmission consent deal with DirecTV, Brian Brady’s group of small-market TV stations today asked the FCC to intercede — to find that the satellite TV operator is not dealing in good faith as required by law and to force it to divulge retrans pricing information it claims to have.
According to its FCC petition for “emergency” relief, the Brady group has been trying to hammer out a new deal with DirecTV since last fall. While the negotiations drag on, it says, it is permitting DirecTV to continue carrying its signals through a series of extensions to a 2011 contract that expired on Feb. 1.
An “unbridgeable chasm has opened” in the negotiations, the group says.
In the course of negotiations, it says, it has supported its demands for retrans fees with pricing from 15 other deals.
“These many separate contracts establish, as a matter of verifiable fact, the competitive market price for its signals,” it says.
DirecTV claims that its counteroffer is also supported by such facts, the Brady groups says, but it has “repeatedly and resolutely refused” to share them.
“DirectTV is in effect arguing that special rules apply to it, allowing it to dictate price on the basis of unverified claims that are squarely at odds with the verified facts [it] has supplied in good faith,” it says.
DirecTV is acting the bully, the Brady group also alleges. “DirecTV can afford a prolonged dispute (including signal blackouts) much more easily than can [the Brady group],” it says.
The Brady group operates stations in seven small- to moderate-size markets, such as Spokane, Wash., and Yuma, Ariz., it says, adding: “DirecTV, by contrast, is a nationwide satellite provider, with 2014 revenues of $33.3 billion and, as of June 9, 2015, a market capitalization of $46.23 billion.”
In a separate petition, the Brady group objected to DirecTV’s proposed merger with AT&T and asked the FCC postpone any action on it until it resolves its good faith complaint against DirecTV.