COMCAST SPORTS NET EXPLAINS DIRECTV AND PRIMESTAR BAN
As reported in yesterday's Hollywood Reporter, DirecTV
filed a complaint with the FCC Tuesday charging Comcast
Corp. with unfair competition for refusing to offer its new
Comcast SportsNet in Philadelphia to satellite programmers.
In Philadelphia, Michael Rozansky reports that Comcast
SportsNet's move "leaves customers who receive" DirecTV and
PrimeStar DBS services without SportsNet's 140 Flyers,
Sixers and Phillies games a year. Between the two services,
around 78,000 area home subscribers would not receive
SportsNet. In a statement, SportsNet President Jack
Williams said DirecTV's position "is totally without merit,"
and added that the '92 Cable Act gave regional programmers
"the ability to choose how and to whom they market their
products." But Rozansky adds that Williams' statement "did
not say why Comcast SportsNet refused to let satellite
companies have the channel, and the company would not answer
any questions" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 9/25). More from
Williams' statement: "SportsNet has been offered to a wide
range of local multichannel video providers, not only
wireline cable companies, but also wireless cable, and
apartment house and condominium cable vendors throughout its
market" (Edward Moran, PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 9/25).