Washington, D.C. (October 28,
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
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
“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
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