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DIRECTV to FCC: Fox Is Misleading!
By Swanni

Washington, D.C. (October 28, 2011) -- DIRECTV has taken its programming dispute with Fox to the Federal Communications Commission, filing a complaint saying that Fox is "misleading" their subscribers into believing they will lose their local Fox channels.

DIRECTV says Fox is asking for a 40 percent increase to carry roughly two dozen Fox channels including FX, Fox Movie Channel and 19 regional sports networks -- but not the local Fox channels or Fox News; they are covered in a different agreement.

Fox denies the 40 percent rate increase, but the two companies acknowledge that unless a deal is agreed to by November 1, it's highly likely the two dozen Fox channels will be removed from DIRECTV's airwaves.

However, the fee fight has gotten heated in the past few days after Fox began running commercials suggesting that DIRECTV could soon lose the local Fox channels as well as the cable networks.

“FOX is using misleading advertising informing DIRECTV customers that soon, in some markets, you may lose your local FOX station, even though our retransmission consent agreement (For the local channels) does not expire for over two months,” said the DIRECTV letter, which was written by DIRECTV executive vice president Derek Chang.

Chang added that Fox has refused to give DIRECTV a separate proposal to renew the carriage agreement for the local channels.

"
Fox is clearly abusing the public trust by its deliberate attempt to confuse and alarm consumers. Such conduct is certainly not what the Commission had in mind when it made Fox a steward of the nation’s airwaves entrusted to serve the public interest," Chang wrote.

DIRECTV apparently wants the FCC to order Fox to stop running the ads, particularly in reference to the local channel language; the letter stops short of actually requesting that action. However, the fact that DIRECTV has sent the letter just four days before the Nov. 1 deadline might suggest the satcaster doesn't think this dispute will end soon.

There was no response last night from Fox or the FCC on DIRECTV's letter.

What do you think? Offer your comments below!

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