×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Time Warner Cable, DirecTV Ask FCC to Restrict Gannett’s Deal for Belo

The American Cable Assn., Time Warner Cable and DirecTV are objecting to a part of Gannett’s proposed $2.2 billion acquisition of Belo Corp.’s broadcast stations, saying that the deal threatens to drive up retransmission fees and risk even more station blackouts in negotiation standoffs.

Their objections were raised in a filing with the FCC, which is considering the transfer of five Belo stations in St. Louis, Phoenix and Tucson markets to Sander Operating Co. and Tucker Operating Co. The ACA, Time Warner Cable and DirecTV say that such a transfer is a means to rely on “a series of shills or ‘third-party sidecars” and get around rules limiting ownership of stations in the same market.

They contend that although the transaction calls for Gannett to divest Belo’s TV assets in the three markets, “Gannett will retain effective control of all of these stations through various sharing agreements under which it will establish duopolies in each” city. They contend that Gannett’s agreements with Sander and Tucker will result in “collusive negotiations” of retransmission agreements in St. Louis, Phoenix and Tucson. As an example, they said that under an agreement that Gannett “intends to execute” with Sander and Tucker in the Tucson market, Gannett would be the agent for them for restrans or other distribution agreements.

ACA, Times Warner Cable and DirecTV are asking the FCC to either deny the transfer of licenses, or impose conditions to restrict the coordination of negotiation of retrans deals.

The stations at issue are KMOV-TV in St. Louis, KTVK-TV and KASW-TV in Phoenix and KMSB-TV and KTTU-TV in Tucson.

Gannett’s deal for Belo will nearly double its broadcast holdings from 23 stations to 43, with stations in 21 of the top 25 markets.

Update: In a statement, a spokesman for Gannett said, “The transaction is entirely consistent will all FCC rules, policies and precedent, and will bring substantial benefits to the public.”

More Biz

  • Lilly Burns Tony Hernandez

    Variety to Honor Jax Media Chiefs Tony Hernandez, Lilly Burns at New Leaders Event

    Emmy Award-winning producer Tony Hernandez and Emmy-nominated producer Lilly Burns will receive the Creative Leadership Award on behalf of Jax Media at the Variety New Leaders event presented by City National Bank, taking place Nov. 14 in New York City. As founders of Jax Media, Hernandez and Burns have produced shows and specials such as [...]

  • Andrea Bocelli

    Andrea Bocelli Calls Plácido Domingo Cancellations Due to Sexual Harassment Claims ‘Absurd’

    Italian singer Andrea Bocelli is defending embattled opera star Plácido Domingo, saying it is “absurd” that concerts have been canceled in the wake of multiple sexual-harassment allegations. “I am still appalled at what happened to this incredible artist,” Bocelli said, according to the Associated Press. “I don’t understand this. Tomorrow a lady can just come up [...]

  • Rudy Lopez Negrete Returns to CAA     

    Rudy Lopez Negrete Returns to CAA

    Rudy Lopez Negrete has rejoined CAA as an agent in the Music Touring department, specifically focused on leading brand partnerships for CAA’s Latin music clients. He will be based in the company’s Los Angeles office, where he will work with Latin artists including Enrique Iglesias, Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez, Becky G, Isabela Merced, Luis Fonsi, Mon [...]

  • Richard Plepler HBO

    Former HBO Chief Richard Plepler Close to Signing Apple TV Plus Production Pact

    Former HBO chief Richard Plepler is close to signing an exclusive production pact with Apple TV Plus. Apple declined to comment and Plepler could not immediately be reached for comment. It’s understood that Plepler plans to launch a boutique production company designed to focus on a handful of high-profile projects. Among his advisors in pulling [...]

  • Byron AllenVariety Inclusion Summit, Inside, Los

    Byron Allen, Comcast to Square Off in Supreme Court on Racial Discrimination Case

    Byron Allen’s racial discrimination case against Comcast Corp. on Wednesday heads to the Supreme Court, where justices will consider Comcast’s argument that the case should hinge on two words: “but for.” Allen filed a $20 billion lawsuit against Comcast in February 2015, arguing that the nation’s largest cable operator was discriminating against his company, Entertainment [...]

  • Gary Ehrlich Named President, General Manager

    Gary Ehrlich Named President, General Manager of Fox Studio Lot

    Gary Ehrlich was named to oversee operations at the Fox Studio Lot, a position of growing importance to Fox Corporation. Fox said Tuesday that it had named Ehrlich, a former executive vice president at Fox Sports, the new president and general manger of its Fox Studio lot in Century City. Fox retained its ownership to [...]

  • WGA Strike Labor Talks

    How the Streaming Revolution Is Making Guild Negotiations Even More Complicated

    It may not be a perfect storm yet, but ominous clouds are gathering. As the winter holidays approach, there’s growing agita across the industry about the potential for substantial labor strife next year. The WGA, DGA and SAG-AFTRA are gearing up for master film and TV contract negotiations with the major studios at a time [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content