News Corp. Pushes DIRECTV Conditions Request

Representatives from News Corp. and its Fox unit were at the Federal Communications Commission last week, lobbying the agency to grant a petition that would release the media giants from a slate of program access obligations.

At issue is News Corp.'s takeover of a controlling stake in DIRECTV five years ago and conditions tied to that acquisition, in which the company was required to allow pay-TV competitor access to key programming properties such as broadcast stations and regional sports networks. Given that News Corp. sold its stake in the DBS company to Liberty Media earlier this year, Rupert Murdoch's company has asked the FCC to be released from those provisions.

A filing detailing the News Corp./Fox/FCC meetings didn't provide a lot of specifics about the discussions. However, News Corp. stated in the filing that it expects Fox to engage in carriage distribution negotiations with several large cable companies during the next 18 months.

News Corp. asked for prompt approval of its application regarding the conditions request.

The meetings took place with FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell and staff for FCC Chairman Kevin Martin and Commissioners Jonathan Adelstein and Michael Copps.