non prescription lasix can you buy amoxicillin over amitriptyline no rx needed therapy dogs for sale mobic meloxicam medication tofranil dosage metformin denk 500 erection photos topamax dosage for weight loss topiramate levitra precio how to make viagra at home mirapex without a prescription purchase retin a online viagra generic date viagra tel aviv bactroban nasal ointment laxifen dosis amoxicilina suhagra 100 reviews mobic 7.5 revatio side effects zetia side effects zetia 10 mg remeron side effects withdrawal digoxin toxicity symptoms i want ot buy viagra yasmin bolands horoscope reductil reviews vrdrug forum 8vyagra amiloride 5mg side effects cuantas pastillas cytotec para abortar order acetazolamide online fastest shipping viagra buy brandcialis usa online pharmacy diovan blood pressure medicine coupons software engineer salary google tu qi 2010 dolgesic codeina schott suprax lantern online generic cialis real viagra pfizer cheap xenical viagra shop usa voltaren gel usa ciprotab dosage sildenafil sale cytoxan side effects in dogs orlistat diet pill dose where can i buy tadacip onlinetadalfiltadalistadapox ciproxin 500mg tablets keftab 500 lady era pills reviews avana at the rim apartments san antonio tx viagra tablate how use in odia acnotin acheter paracetamol toxicity management venlafaxine hcl er 37.5mg cp24 viagra 100mg preis adalat la side effects prandin medication generic periactin pills online female cialis samples ciales poultry chicago cipro tinidazole 500mg nexium without prescription canada latisse md online escitalopram 20 mg picture indomethacin 50 mg and alcohol mylan diclofenac tetracycline purchase canada yasminelle tablets at walmart cloridrato de ciprofloxacino safe buy clomid online avalide side effects irbesartan drug elocon online pharmacy uk levamisole wormer for goats for sale pentrexyl 500 mg capsules drug interactions septra suspension presentation levitra side effects for women acivir 400 will alli be available again soon tetracyclinein canada skelaxin abuse doctor atomoxetine hcl advair by mail cipla field call humalog no prescription generic viagra pay by check canada pharmacy cialis sibutramine meridia reviewssildenafil canadian online pharmacy buy tramadol green jelly eretion betacin tablets for sale amoxicillin for sinus infection canada pharmacies on line delivery online pharmacy india legal suhagra side effects indocin dosage for preterm labor name of female viagra pills in india buying drugs online is easy but illegal buy cheap tetracycline online can you inject buspirone cialis tablets india tablets 20 mg clomid success stories for men zopiclone sleeping pills reductil forum domaine la garrigue wines cipla seroflo canada pharmacy 24h buy liquor online with echeck prednisolone acetate ophthalmic solution proventil hfa inhaler side effects 33 drugstore extenze free sample packs nimesulide dispersible tablets meaning furolin medications ciprofloxacin brand names canada doxycycline for sale no prescription ciprofloxacin 500mg buy online safe tadafalil jelly uk fanegada conversion van dynamogen solution orale jersey buy clamelle azithromycin 500mg tablets sinequanone meaning of colors cuvarlix capsules 120 mg vyvanse permethrin 10 livestock & premise spray antibiotics for sinus infection while pregnant aspirin side effects in dogs spiriva information capsule benicar side effects benicar 20mg clomiphene for men side effects skelaxin 800 mg side effects cong dung renapril 5mg oxycontin revatio 20 mg side effect viagra for woman that lasts up to 48hrs best erection pills for men magnesium oxide formula lumigan generic equivalent cialis in 3 days avana avanafil photos of pregnant celebrities 2015 lamisil generic cost viagra for sale cannada buy sildenafil citrate india organique acai berry price epogen injections for cats furosemide over the counter substitute amikacin drug medication side effects where can i buy cialis cheap keflex side effects in children order methotrexate with mastercard doxycap antibiotics for sinus zyvoxid doses buy cialis 20mg buy antiboitcs online fast fast didi ki suhagraat ic prednisone 20 mg novo pharmacy anastrozole online no prescription prednisone for dogs side effects urination tapiales hoyt how to use wellbutrin recreationally alendronate 70 mg tablets dalacin antibiotics desogen patient reviews irbesartan generic approval daly cialis canada amoxicillin rashes pictures allergic reactions cialis brand name online in us avodart alternativen order levitra online europe mebendazole cvs buy misoprostol abortion pill cheapest viagra ebay whoesale levitra pills zyprexa side effects medication buy viagra online legally erexin ingredients in splenda cheapest generic viagra ciprofloxacino para que sirve forzest 20 reviews clenbuterol side effects drug levitra overnight cicloferon aciclovir doses lidocaine patch side effects tretinoin cream usp 0.05 reviews ciprotab 500mg metronidazole buy promethiazine from out of usa priligy dapoxetine online drugstore clozaril registry form adderall withdrawal symptoms how long cabergoline for sale ritalin and alcohol bluelight relafen 750 mg tab propecia post delivery buy viagra easy online tylenol side effects kidney potassium deficiency in plants hoodia diet pills review fluconazole 200 mg for yeast infection methotrexate no prescription brand online valtrex no prescription levitra online pharmacies blacl market viagra bayer viagra for sale in boston walgreens employee website login cheap kamagra supplier where to buy euthyrox levothyroxine 50mcg vigrx plus reviews ingredients 200mg cialis cialis for daily use review apertium uoc tramadol for dogs dosage medrol 4mg dosepak 21s side effects accutane usa bestellen ketorolac tromethamine ivermectin for cats dose onlaintv ntv uganda bisoprolol hydrochlorothiazide buy doxiciclina lisinopril 10mg tablets prices where to buy misoprostol online orlistat diet pill for sale algodones pharmacy online sildenafil ratiopharm kaufen buy accutane from legal chemist diflucan over the counter generic levitra paypal polarmeds review lynoral online cialsis lowest price canada pharmacy online alli diet pill canadian chemist online dramamine uk diabecon prospect mortgage viagra in switzerland metformin and pregnancy rates glucophage dosage information pregnant man thomas beatie before man usa direct pharmacy alli available in canada best india viagra and price escitalopram vs citalopram tantalum metal price levitra cheap broward county fentanyl withdrawal symptoms drugs alprostadil cream priligy dapoxetine fda 2014 drug sildenafil citrate dapoxetine to buy brupen ampicilina buspar for anxiety in children american girl wet indinavir contraindications estrogen pills for sale increasing testosterone levels in women atenolol and weight gain drug phentermine side effects danger buy cipmox ropinirole hcl 1 mg tablet buy celexa no prescription entocort medication coupons baristanet kids calendar printable viagra sites comprar cytotec en usa fasigyn tinidazole infections canadian pharmacy 24 hour 5 permethrin cream side effects propranolol for migraines cheap drugs no script buy cipla viagra prevacid vs nexium vs aciphex naproxen sodium 550 mg informacion en espanol benicar medication clindamycin 150mg cap ranbaxy percription drugs sales review acai sambazon alcohol and cialis tramadol hcl 50mg treatment vs vicodin nizoral pills discount nexium 40mg medicinenet page boils sertraline hcl 50 mg tablets buy letrozole online no prescription viagra at discount prices effexor withdrawal symptoms side effects acquisto viagra paypal tamsulosin side effects men meloxicam street value phexin boatswain benicar hct 40 12.5 generic content validity duetact medication for anxiety pilocarpine 2 eye drops side effects 40mg cialis ivermectin for cats for ear mites malaysia online sale female viagra dicyclomine 10mg information en espanol viagra before and after coversyl perindopril tert butylamine salt epanutin phenytoin levels prilosec coupon cheap brand name viagra duetact generic viagra sildenafilo costo peru does rxrelief card really work buy dilantin no prescription purchase prednisone from texas online clomid for men testosterone aricept side effects medication buy generic cialis generic cialis fuenllana centro educativo nueva cheaspet vigra and dose it work regenon prospect in romana cenusareasareglan piadas italian street food vitamin c and hyaluronic acid pharmacy tech practice test what is the price of viagra in india cost of valproic acid in uk soft tab cialas united pharmacy support cipro from canada tegretol toxicity ropinerole no prescription buy seasonique online no prescription domperidone side effects baby sky pharmacy online drugstore review binozyt antibiotic side free trial cialis flomaxtra xl 400 d of the shelf std meds abilify maintena prescribing information cardura xl reviews differin gel 0 3 arcoxia medicine side effects alegria shoes canada cardinal community credit union credit card buy straterra online viagra south africa for sale renagel 800 cleocin side effects doctor safe pharmacy shopping misoprostol 200mcg vaginally pharmacy technician jobs in houston inderal dosage for stage fright zovirax tablets over the counter microcidal molecules and atoms platno za tende rhinocort aq coupon fucidin cream for cold sores super lavetra wo kann ich kamagra oral jelly kaufen levitra generico orosolubile prezzo unisom for morning sickness prostata objawy choroby buy viagra in edinburgh atorlip 20mg ambien propecia generic date 2012 methocarbamol 750 mg street value generic methocarbamol no prescription zestoretic without script venlafaxine side effects medications supersaver meds spain viagra over the counter parcopa medication manufacturer obetrol amphetamines drugstore beetle pictures viagra equivalent in india online pharmacy india cipro famvir vs valtrex study norstan apparel shops inc bankruptcynorvasc buy lantus quinine sulfate leg cramps side effects cialis ireland male enhancement drugs calmeit tablets clopidogrel bisulfate rizatriptan 10 mg viagra order hong kong nortriptyline for anxiety reviews vimax pills in pakistan price order torcemide qsymia reviews extenze review blood flow male enhancement ingredients lipitor generic pulmicort side effects vitamix recipes for detox melovax 15mg melatonin buspar reviews druglib canada drug store viagra generic prometrium 100mg capsules omaggio from italy organic extra virgin olive oil cheap wellbutrin xanax street price alphagan p eye drops can i buy some flagyl proscar side effects in men cephalexin for sinus infection prednisone dog buy bactrim online temovate scalp application manager ativan half life benzodiazepines united states no prescription pharmacy evista for osteoporosis treatment prix cialis 20mg pharmacie belgique super levetra pay pal purchase 200mg cytotec nolvadex dosage for men glipizide 10mg tab apetamin weight gain pills vistaril medication anxiety used cuckold definition slang faded diamox sequels 500mg capsules trimetabol solution staffing online parmacy saroten side effects prices of cialis at walgreens trazodone overdose treatment trazodone dosage for depression samples of cialis buying amoxicillin trihydrate 500mg viagra cheap prices order isotretinoin canada buy xenical online australia buy viagra online in praha viagra en ligne paypal sotalex 80 zetia 10 mg cholesterol tretinoin gel buy xanax insurance online nizoral a d anti dandruff shampoo bactroban ointment uses clopidogrel 75mg generic lotrisone cream 45g generic aldactone 25mg spironolactone biaxin xl 500mg antibiotic acnelyse cream information assurance no prescreiption prednisone pharmacy canada 24h doxycap tablets with windows chlamydia trachomatis caffeine anhydrous usp buying albendazole online buy viagra united states online xanax no prescription quick online orlistat cuckold definition shakespearean generic viagra dosage recommendations ventolin buy online canada omeprazole 40 mg capsule uses isoniazid 300mg side effects estrace 1mg cream synthroid and weight loss medication premarin coupon ibuprofen and alcohol online canadian pharmacy accutane cheap cialis in california spiriva side effects if swallowed viagra probe kostenlos plavix 75 mg generic name citalopram 20 mg side effects with alcohol zineryt cenar pilex from himalaya rogaine side effects rogaine reviews mirapex dosages singulair allergy medicine children lamictal medication bipolar disorder estrofem usage name of viagra for women in ind hydroxyzine hcl 10mg prescription vrdrug complaints about companies enalapril medication price minocycline uses for acne treatment femara infertility letrozole vimax reviews forum accutane acne treatment side effects drug mestinon myasthenia gravis treatment indian viagra name lidoderm pain patches coupons antabuse australia sotalol hcl 80mg tabletssoviclor buy arimidex online india temovate ointment and cream helthy man female viagra without a doctor prescription domperidone without perscription acnelyse gel cialis 5 mg prix pharmacie purchase antibiotics for adults clobex shampoo coupon famciclovir side effects famvir dutasteride hair loss avodart online paharmcy canada no perscription zyrtec for children dosage chart sunsuria development sdn bhd directors chair betneval neomycine nuvigil medication information order zestril lisinopril zyvoxid spca cheap penicillin no prescription sifrol pramipexole treatment for depression xanax dosage information alprazolam dostinex ereccion
Home Media News Opening Statement: Chase Carey Pres. and CEO of DirecTV

Like Shoot to Thrill - An AC/DC Tribute on Facebook!

An authentic tribute of AC/DC that covers the best of the Bon Scott era and the best of Brian Johnson's material

Who's Online?

We have 683 guests online

Atom RSS

Opening Statement: Chase Carey Pres. and CEO of DirecTV PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 5
PoorBest 
Written by Chase Carey   
Tuesday, 27 March 2007 03:54
Chase Carey
President and Chief Executive Officer, DIRECTV, Inc.
Before the
Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
March 27, 2007

Chairman Inouye, Co-Chairman Stevens, and members of the Committee, my name is Chase Carey.  I am the President and CEO of DIRECTV.  Thank you for inviting me to testify today regarding DIRECTV’s recently announced agreement with Major League Baseball (“MLB”) to continue to carry MLB’s Extra Innings package of out-of-town baseball games.

I would like to address four issues today.  First, I’ll describe the fair, open, and arm’s length negotiation for carriage of Extra Innings – a negotiation resulting directly from the pro-competitive, pro-consumer policies Congress has put in place.  DIRECTV has entered into a carriage agreement with MLB, while EchoStar and a consortium of the biggest cable operators remain free to match DIRECTV’s offer until Opening Day.  So when our competitors complain that they don’t have rights to Extra Innings, what they’re really saying is that they’d like to pay less for those rights than DIRECTV – a lament common to many MVPDs in many circumstances.[1]
          
Second, I will address another aspect of competition at work – DIRECTV’s plan to transform Extra Innings from a mere collection of games in low definition to a truly compelling, high definition experience for the most avid baseball fans.  Regardless of whether our competitors step up to the plate, DIRECTV intends to make more baseball available to more fans in a more compelling format than ever before.  This is a big win for baseball fans.

Third, I’ll explain how the competitive marketplace Congress created will ensure that fans of our Nation’s pastime will not be left behind.  If EchoStar and the cable consortium step up and match DIRECTV’s offer, their subscribers will continue to have access to this programming from those providers.  If they don’t, subscribers who want to switch to DIRECTV can do so seamlessly.  The small number of subscribers who do not or cannot switch will be able to watch games over broadband – an increasingly viable alternative to traditional television.

Fourth, while DIRECTV’s agreement with MLB is entirely consistent with the policies Congress established to create a competitive marketplace, Congress can always change those policies.  But I would respectfully suggest that, if this Committee is concerned about competition and access issues, these issues should be examined within the broader context of communications and competition policy.  Such an examination might address topics such as the tying of video and broadband access services, the “slow-rolling” of access to Internet video, tying arrangements for programming imposed by competitors with market power, and home-team sports exclusives.  DIRECTV would be happy to participate in such a discussion.

(Select Read More to view the rest of Carey's opening statement) 

I. DIRECTV Negotiated a Fair and Arm’s Length Agreement With MLB; Cable and EchoStar Can Have the Same Deal if they Want It.

It is sometimes difficult to remember that, little more than a decade ago, Americans had only one choice of multichannel video provider – the cable monopoly.  Today, nearly every American can choose among their cable operator, DIRECTV, and EchoStar.  Verizon and AT&T now also offer service in many parts of the country.

These competitors have differentiated themselves in the marketplace.  Cable, and now Verizon and AT&T, compete by offering a “triple play” of voice, video and data – a bundle that DIRECTV cannot yet offer on its own.  EchoStar has carved out a niche as the low-cost provider, and offers a host of foreign language exclusives.  And DIRECTV differentiates itself through an unparalleled selection of sports programming and unmatched technical innovation – including an investment of hundreds of millions of dollars on new satellites to offer consumers their local broadcast stations in HD and over 100 national HD programming services.  These unique offerings helped DIRECTV to differentiate itself and begin to break the stranglehold of the cable monopolies.  The cable industry, in turn, found itself forced to spend billions to innovate and become more responsive to consumers’ desires – today offering a competitive, attractive package that includes its own differentiated video-on-demand and bundled Internet offerings.

Cable, to be sure, still possesses an overwhelming market share, which distorts competition to this day.  But the fact remains that today there is competition where before there was none.   This is the success story Congress – and this Committee, in particular – helped write.
    
And this is the context in which DIRECTV negotiated its agreement to carry Extra Innings.  Several months ago, MLB initiated discussions with a number of MVPDs and their affiliates – including DIRECTV, EchoStar, and iN DEMAND (owned by Comcast, Time Warner, and Cox) – regarding carriage of Extra Innings.  These discussions concerned both exclusive and non-exclusive carriage.  Each competitor was given the opportunity to compete for Extra Innings.  And each did.

In the end, despite the fact that it has a modest nationwide market share, only DIRECTV showed an interest in carrying Extra Innings on terms acceptable to MLB, including helping to launch the MLB Channel and carrying it widely to our subscribers.  So earlier this month, DIRECTV and MLB announced that they had reached agreement for carriage of Extra Innings and the MLB Channel.

That agreement gave DIRECTV’s competitors – all of whom had a seat at the table during the first round of negotiations – yet another turn at bat.  Until Opening Day, MLB will allow incumbent MVPDs willing to agree to terms equivalent to DIRECTV’s carriage arrangement to offer their subscribers this programming.  In other words, Comcast and Cox and Time Warner and EchoStar can provide out-of-town games to their subscribers if they want to.  The agreement says only that they cannot do so on the cheap.  So if they agree to pay the price DIRECTV pays, agree to carry the MLB Channel in the same manner as DIRECTV, and agree to comply with the other terms and conditions that apply to DIRECTV, they can carry Extra Innings.  It’s their choice.  This is why Time Warner’s top programming negotiator recently said she was not sure why people have criticized the deal as if it were “rigged” against competition, when the issue really boils down to the “evaluation of whether acquiring programming is too expensive or not.”[2]

Now that both iN DEMAND and EchoStar have access to Extra Innings on comparable terms and conditions as DIRECTV, we expected EchoStar and the cable industry to stop complaining and start competing.  But they haven’t.  Now they’re claiming that MLB’s offer to match DIRECTV’s terms isn’t fair.
 
They first contend that the agreement is unfair because DIRECTV will have an ownership interest in the MLB Channel (not in MLB or the Extra Innings package).  But this isn’t unfair at all.  To begin with, because of DIRECTV’s ownership, MLB cannot offer DIRECTV the MLB Channel on an exclusive basis.  If DIRECTV’s competitors think DIRECTV’s ownership interest is inconsistent with this obligation, they already have an avenue for redress at the FCC.[3]  Moreover, granting DIRECTV an ownership interest in exchange for its willingness to be the “first mover” in carrying this channel is a very common industry practice.  The FCC reports that cable operators own dozens of channels, including many of the most important regional sports networks (“RSNs”) such as those in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Diego and Washington D.C.[4]
   
DIRECTV’s rivals also complain that the distribution requirements for the MLB Channel that DIRECTV agreed to are too onerous.  This is nothing but a public relations ploy.  If anything, the distribution requirement actually favors cable operators.  Based on the distribution formula in the agreement, DIRECTV has to distribute the MLB Channel to roughly 80 percent of its total subscribers, while cable operators would have to distribute it to approximately 40 percent of their total subscribers.  The very terms for distribution cable denounces as unfair are equivalent to, or in many instances less stringent than, the requirements cable operators demand for the programming they themselves own.

DIRECTV’s rivals may not like these terms.  But parties who do not like terms of carriage cannot cry foul on that basis alone.  This is how programming negotiations work.  If an MVPD believes that programming is too expensive, it can choose not to carry the programming.  This happens all the time.  EchoStar, for example, doesn’t carry the YES network for this very reason, so EchoStar subscribers in New York can’t watch most Yankees games.  MLB’s insistence that other MVPDs live by the same deal DIRECTV did isn’t unfair, it is simply the marketplace at work – and surely isn’t a subject worthy of Congressional intervention.

II. DIRECTV’s Carriage of Extra Innings Will Be a Big Win for Fans.

I do not know whether EchoStar and the cable industry will ultimately match DIRECTV’s offer to carry Extra Innings.  I do know, however, that DIRECTV has big plans for Extra Innings – which is one reason why we have (so far) been willing to pay more than anybody else for it.  DIRECTV will make more baseball available to more fans in a more compelling format than ever before.

For starters, DIRECTV will add a mosaic channel and a Strike Zone channel (similar to the NFL Sunday Ticket Red Zone Channel) that will deliver live cut-ins of games throughout the country.  We will also provide great entertainment to fans with real-time scores, player and team stats and other innovations that complement the sport of baseball.  Most importantly, DIRECTV expects to provide most, if not all, games in high definition for the 2008 baseball season – an innovation that most cable operators cannot match.

Moreover, as part of the Extra Innings agreement, DIRECTV will also make The MLB Channel widely available when the channel launches in 2009.

DIRECTV’s transformation of Extra Innings should come as no surprise.  This, after all, is what DIRECTV has done for other programming.  For example, DIRECTV recently completely revamped supplemental coverage of NASCAR races.  The cable industry had the rights to NASCAR content for years, but did little with this programming and attracted only 30,000 customers in 2006.  DIRECTV obtained the rights this year to what is now NASCAR Hotpass, and debuted a service at this year’s Daytona 500 that bears little resemblance to cable’s bare-bones offering.  DIRECTV’s NASCAR Hotpass features five dedicated “Driver Channels,” each focusing on an individual driver and offering multiple camera angles, real-time stats, team audio communications and dedicated announcer teams.  Although the NASCAR season started only recently, DIRECTV already has more than three times the subscribers to this programming than the cable industry had in 2006.

DIRECTV expects that once it adds interactive features, high-definition service, and the MLB Channel, many new subscribers will sign up for Extra Innings with DIRECTV. This will make DIRECTV’s service more attractive than our cable competitors.  Those competitors, in turn, will have to improve their services to keep up.  This, again, is the vibrant competitive marketplace that Congress envisioned at work.

III. The Competitive Marketplace Envisioned by Congress Will Provide Numerous Alternatives for Baseball Fans.

The same competitive marketplace that permitted DIRECTV to obtain the rights to Extra Innings in a fair and open manner will also ensure that baseball fans will continue to be able to watch their favorite teams.  Right now, both EchoStar and iN DEMAND have the option to continue to provide this programming to their subscribers – if they are willing to pay the fair price negotiated at arm’s length between DIRECTV and MLB.  Even if DIRECTV remains the only MVPD to carry Extra Innings, however, non-DIRECTV subscribers will not be harmed in any meaningful way.

First, consumers can switch to DIRECTV with no start-up costs, no equipment to buy, and no installation charges.  When they do so, they will get a better service at a better value than is offered by cable.  DIRECTV, unlike cable, is 100% digital.  DIRECTV offers more programming than cable.  On average, DIRECTV costs significantly less per channel than cable.  And DIRECTV’s customer service is second to none – having surpassed the cable industry average in each of the last six years.[5]  This, again, is how a competitive marketplace is supposed to work.

Unfortunately, cable operators are doing their best to prevent this.  Cable, for example, penalizes customers by dramatically increasing the price of Internet service if the customer drops cable’s video service.  To overcome cable’s barriers, DIRECTV has chosen to offer customers who want to switch no upfront costs and more compelling content.
 
Second, every single game carried on Extra Innings will remain available online through MLB.com.  Internet video is improving dramatically,[6] and MLB announced its intent to offer upgraded picture quality this season. Thus, subscribers who choose not to (or cannot) subscribe to DIRECTV will still be able to watch the games of their choice.  Here again, however, cable operators are attempting to hinder the marketplace.  If cable did not prohibit a direct connection between the Internet and the set top box, MLB.com could easily be viewed on television sets.


Third, the arrangement will not disrupt competition among MVPDs.  To begin with, relatively few subscribers are affected at all.  Only 230,000 non-DIRECTV customers subscribed to Extra Innings last year – less than one half of one percent of all television homes.[7]  DIRECTV estimates that there are relatively few viewers – no more than three percent of the cable segment (approximately 180,000 Extra Innings subscribers) – who cannot receive DIRECTV service.  This translates to roughly 5,000 subscribers – each of whom can access the games over the Internet.  Moreover, this agreement does not deny a single fan the right to follow his or her home team.  In all of its programming arrangements, DIRECTV has been respectful of fans’ rights to view their home team sports.  Extra Innings is a premium package of out-of-town games – designed to serve baseball’s most avid fans without adversely affecting viewership of MLB’s national and local telecasts.  By contrast, our cable competitors have withheld core home team sports programming from nearly half a million satellite customers in Philadelphia and San Diego.


Fourth, the marketplace will continue to provide subscribers without Extra Innings a wealth of options for watching their favorite sport.  If Extra Innings were to disappear tomorrow, MLB would still offer more televised games by far than any other U.S. sport.  Regardless of the MVPD to which they subscribe, fans throughout the country can watch their home team on broadcast television or RSNs – assuming that cable-affiliated RSNs continue to make their programming available to all MVPDs at non-discriminatory rates.  In addition, fans without Extra Innings can still watch an impressive number of out-of-town games.  On average, more than 400 games are televised in each market – on local broadcast television, RSNs, and MLB’s national partners FOX, TBS, and ESPN.

IV. A Broader Review of Competition Policy May Be Appropriate.

Members of this Committee are naturally concerned about consumer choice and access to content.  So is DIRECTV.  But Congress cannot examine these issues in a vacuum – and certainly should not start with this arm’s length, pro-competitive deal.  If it truly seeks to ensure that every American has a choice among video providers and access to content, this Committee can choose among any number of issues that affect far more consumers.
If, for example, this Committee is concerned about the ability of subscribers to switch MVPDs, it might examine why cable operators dramatically increase the price for their broadband service to subscribers that switch from cable to satellite for video service.  In Washington DC, for example, Comcast charges $33.99 for Internet service when bundled with video and voice, but $57.95 for stand-alone Internet – a 70 percent increase in price.  Even though DIRECTV offers a lower price for a better video service, consumers with cable modems lose money by choosing DIRECTV.  If Congress seeks to maximize consumer choice – as it should – cable’s tying of Internet and video services is worthy of review.
   
If this Committee is concerned that viewers might be denied access to content they wish to view, it might examine whether cable operators should be able to degrade the service their broadband subscribers receive when accessing video content from non-affiliated websites (or entities that do not pay to ensure access), or preclude such access altogether.  As more and more video content migrates to the Internet, cable operators will increasingly have the incentive and ability to determine what their broadband subscribers can and cannot see.  A cable operator could even, for example, prohibit a baseball fan from visiting MLB.com (or, more likely, could “slow-roll” communications to that site compared with communications from its own site).
 
If this Committee is concerned about bundling channels in contract negotiations, it might wish to focus more broadly on tying arrangements imposed by parties with market power.  For example, Comcast recently required DIRECTV to distribute its “G4” gaming channel to 80 percent of its subscribers in order to continue to carry Comcast SportsNet Mid Atlantic at market rates.  A broader examination of arrangements like this would consider the pros and cons of today’s programming marketplace and possible ideas for revising it.
 
And finally, if this Committee is concerned about sports programming, it should begin by examining the worst instances of sports withholding.  Congress and the FCC have found repeatedly over the years that cable operators can abuse their formidable market power by arranging to withhold programming they own.  And they do that today in Philadelphia and San Diego, where half a million satellite subscribers cannot watch their home teams.  Surely that – and not an arm’s length, non-exclusive, pro-competitive deal such as that between DIRECTV and MLB for carriage of out-of-town games – is worthy of this Committee’s consideration.

*                         *                         *

The video marketplace continues to evolve as competition takes hold under the regime Congress has put in place.  DIRECTV’s arrangement with MLB is part of that process – the result of fair and open competition for programming that even today remains available to DIRECTV’s rivals.  DIRECTV intends to upgrade Extra Innings significantly, giving avid baseball fans more than they have ever had from this package before.  We will also make the transition of any subscriber who wants this programming from DIRECTV as seamless as possible.  In the end, then, DIRECTV’s agreement with MLB is an example of how the competitive marketplace created by this Committee is working – not how it needs to be changed.

[1]       Time Warner’s top programming negotiator recently said as much – stating that she was not sure why people have criticized the deal as if it were “rigged” against competition, when the issue really boils down to the “evaluation of whether acquiring programming is too expensive or not.” SkyReport E-News, Mar. 13, 2007.
[2]       SkyReport E-News, Mar. 13, 2007.
[3]       General Motors Corp., Hughes Electronics Corp., and The News Corporation Limited, 19 FCC Rcd. 473 (2004) (“News-Hughes”).
[4]       Annual Assessment of the Status of Competition in the Market for the Delivery of Video Programming, 21 FCC Rcd. 2503 App. C (2006)
[5]       See Steve Donohue, “DirecTV Tops J.D. Power Survey,” Multichannel News, Aug. 16, 2006, available at http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6363083.html.
[6]       See, e.g., Peter Grant, Plugging the Web Into the TV, Wall St. J., Aug. 4, 2006, at A11 (describing the rapid advances in online video, and stating that, with a TiVo device, one “can’t even tell whether it came from the TV or off the Internet.”).
[7]      Not to minimize the inconvenience to these customers, but it is worth noting that that tens of millions of  subscribers “churn,” switching video providers every year.

 
 
Banner

Poll

Should MLB Force Jeffery Loria to Sell the Marlins?