You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

FCC Seeks Carriage Contracts in Comcast-TWC, AT&T-DirecTV Merger Reviews

The FCC says it is establishing “unique protections” to keep sensitive program carriage and retransmission contracts confidential as it reviews the proposed mergers of Comcast with Time Warner Cable and AT&T with DirecTV.

The agency’s request for such information has been met with resistance from cable channels who do business with the companies. Some have expressed fears that FCC protective orders will not ensure the confidentiality of deal terms, negotiating points and “most favored nations obligations.”

But in a blog post on Tuesday, three FCC officials argued that the information could be protected with existing policies as well as some new ones. They include requirements that the information from the contracts available only to outside representatives, such as lawyers, who are not involved in “competitive decision making,” such as those involved in negotiating programming contracts or retransmission agreements. Other provisions prohibit printing or copying, as well as require certification that, at the end of a merger proceeding, the materials will be destroyed.

Those who seek the information already must sign acknowledgements of confidentiality, prohibiting them from releasing such information.

The FCC’s request for such information is evidence of the extent to which they are taking an extensive examination of the mergers’ impacts on the marketplace.

William Lake, the FCC’s media bureau chief; Jon Sallet, general counsel; and Julie Veach, chief of the wireline competition bureau, wrote that access to the contracts “could allow someone to obtain a detailed, industry-wide overview of the current and future programming market. Indeed, because the AT&T and Comcast transactions are pending simultaneously, the ability to capture an understanding of the programming marketplace is greater, and potentially more troublesome, than if only one were before us.”

The Discovery Channel is the largest programmer to go public with its concerns about the merger, expressing concerns that a larger Comcast will gain too much leverage to dictate contract terms. In a filing last month, Comcast dismissed such concerns and accused Discovery of demanding “unwarranted business concessions” as a condition of its non-opposition to the merger.

More TV

  • Batwoman -- "Crisis on Infinite Earths:

    'Crisis on Infinite Earths' Recap: The Return of Two Supermen and a World-Ending Plan

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part Two,” the “Batwoman” episode of the 2019 “Arrowverse” crossover. “Crisis on Infinite Earths” set a strong tone with its opener Sunday night, as the Anti-Monitor hurtling through space obliterated Earth-38 and claimed its first superhero victim in Oliver Queen aka [...]

  • Batwoman -- "Crisis on Infinite Earths:

    'Crisis on Infinite Earths' Team Talks Oliver's Fate and Batwoman's Big Move (Spoilers)

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part Two,” the “Batwoman” episode of the 2019 “Arrowverse” crossover. The second hour of the CW’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover killed off another iconic hero — but brought one back. After Oliver (Stephen Amell) sacrificed himself in event’s first episode, [...]

  • TV News Roundup: TBS Unveils 'Miracle

    TV News Roundup: TBS Unveils Trailer for 'Miracle Workers: Dark Ages'

    In today’s TV news roundup, TBS releases the first look at Season 2 of “Miracle Workers” and Netflix announces the premiere date for “Cheer.” CASTINGS:  Nickelodeon has called on comedian and writer Adam Conover to host its new family game show “The Crystal Maze.“ In the American rendition of the U.K. series, Conover will take [...]

  • Verve

    Verve Raises Assistant Salaries by Up to 40% in Response to Fair-Pay Movement

    Verve has announced a 25-40% pay increase for its assistants and mailroom employees in response to the #PayUpHollywood movement which has been shining a spotlight on the issue of assistant pay in the industry. The agency, which represents #PayUpHollywood co-founder Liz Alper and regular advocate John August, is also changing its hours to shorten the [...]

  • Golden Globes Zodiac signs

    Golden Globes Nominees as Zodiac Signs

    The Golden Globes nominees aren’t the only stars of awards season. Variety turned to astrology to assign Zodiac signs to this year’s nominees. Some selections required a little more nuance — Olivia Wilde’s “Booksmart” is a Virgo with a prominent Sagittarius rising and Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women” is a Sagittarius that wishes it were a [...]

  • Morning Show Apple

    Golden Globe Noms: 'The Morning Show' Turns Apple TV Plus Into a Kudos Contender

    “Euphoric” was the word to describe the atmosphere around the Apple TV Plus offices in Culver City, Calif., on Monday morning as staffers awoke to the news that the fledgling service’s cornerstone drama series, “The Morning Show,” had landed three major Golden Globe Award nominations. Apple Worldwide Video had exactly two employees — heads Jamie [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content