NCTC Fights News Corp. Conditions Request

Another entity has weighed in with its opposition to News Corp.'s request for release from its obligations to provide programming access to pay-TV services.

As part of its takeover of the DIRECTV stake five years ago, News Corp. was required to allow pay-TV competitor access to its key programming properties, such as broadcast stations and regional sports networks. Given that News Corp. sold its stake in the satellite TV company to Liberty Media earlier this year, Rupert Murdoch's company has asked to be released from those provisions.

The National Cable Television Cooperative told the FCC in its comments on the issue that it would be "patently unfair and contrary to the public interest" for the media giant to escape the conditions. Also, such a move would be unfair to any arbitration proceedings or program carriage negotiations that were commenced before News Corp.'s divesture of the DIRECTV stake.

NCTC said it is involved in two arbitration proceedings covering a number of News Corp.-affiliated RSNs.

"NCTC and the small cable companies that it represents have expended considerable time and resources to prosecute these arbitrations with the expectation that the proceedings would not suddenly be terminated if and when the bargaining agent and arbitration conditions expire," the cooperative said in its comments.