Home Television Arbitrator Rules in Favor of MASN over Time Warner Cable

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Arbitrator Rules in Favor of MASN over Time Warner Cable PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 21 January 2008 09:57

MASNAn arbitrator has ruled in favor of Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN) over Time Warner Cable, saying that Time Warner discriminated against MASN when the carrier would only place MASN on the digital tier, and not their analog tier, as well. As reported by Broadcast and Cable:

Following a Dec. 17 hearing, arbitrator Jerome Sussman of the American Arbitration Association took less than three weeks to rule (in a Jan. 7 decision) that “the conclusion that Time Warner deliberately discriminated against MASN is inescapable from the documents and testimony,” adding that Time Warner “had both motive and opportunity to discriminate" against MASN in favor of its own RSN.

Time Warner argued that since it offered to carry MASN on a digital tier, it was not denying carriage. But Sussman said that since only 50% of Time Warner's subscribers were digital and since Time Warner carried its own and other RSNs on an analog tier, "This is exactly the kind of discrimination that I think the FCC [Federal Communications Commission] intended to prevent."

He said he agreed with Time Warner that it should have substantial editorial discretion over the channels it chooses to distribute, but since MASN was singled out, that such discretion was "abused" with the intent to discriminate. He added that there appeared to be no evidence that there were ever any real negotiations between the two parties, and that instead, "It appears that all of TWC's efforts went into figuring out ways to avoid putting MASN on the air."

Time Warner had also argued that MASN was not an RSN. Sussman dismissed that claim by saying that News 14 Carolina, which is owned by Time Warner as an RSN by the fact that they carry Charlotte Bobcats games, and was looking to carry more sports rights.

The next phase will be for Sussman to rule on offers made by both sides.


Maury Brown

Maury Brown is the founder and president of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is also an author for Baseball Prospectus, Basketball Prospectus and is an available writer for other media outlets.

Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

 
 
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