fast payday loans no credit check canada credit card history in the philippines how to get a credit card today and use it today credit score needed for capital one business card whats a good first credit card can a credit card company garnish your wages in pennsylvania credit card limit increase good or bad forbes best credit cards for college students the best credit cards in canada how to check hsbc credit card points whats the average credit card apr applying for a credit card with no credit southwest rapid rewards plus credit card review virgin prepaid visa credit card delta miles credit card no annual fee unsecured credit card loans for bad credit no fax payday loans direct lenders visa debit card rewards program checklist for comparing credit cards disney chase visa credit card wells fargo credit card rewards site no credit history credit cards chase walmart credit card cashback rules household bank credit card payments online tesco credit card payment date apply for credit card uk online united cash loans suze orman pay off credit card debt or save chase mastercard credit card logon is the amazon visa card a credit card icici bank credit cards online apply granite credit card uk credit card with bad credit no deposit easiest retail credit card to get with bad credit target credit card vs target visa credit card rona advantage credit card virgin prepaid credit card south africa what is a secured credit card wells fargo citibank credit card 20 cash back how often can you get cashback on walmart credit card credit card cashback british airways credit card deals best value credit cards 2012 uk online credit card processing for small business canada transfer credit card balance to low interest loan stolen credit card numbers free 2013 credit card for college students with no job how to apply for bpi mastercard debit card balance transfer natwest small business credit card offers for poor credit capital one balance transfer rates existing customers does arco gas have a credit card citibank platinum credit cards india choice freedom platinum credit card credit card for bad credit instant approval south africa get unsecured credit card poor credit sbi credit card offers on flight booking 2013 credit score needed for chase freedom credit card credit cards cash back on gas misuse of company credit card policy requirements for credit card application hsbc free guaranteed approval credit cards free prepaid credit card no fees household bank credit card sold to capital one discover credit card student credit cards with low apr for students top zero percent credit cards types of delta american express credit cards apply mbna credit card canada what is cash advance interest rate india credit card no foreign transaction fee citibank singapore credit card minimum payment does applying for new credit cards hurt your credit score national city credit card application get instant payday loan online apply for bmo prepaid mastercard unsecured credit cards to build your credit check hdfc credit card application online should i consolidate all my credit cards apple updates without credit card unauthorized credit card charges skype compare credit cards australia balance transfer rfid credit card scanner theft best cash back rewards credit cards average credit card limit canada hsbc new credit card apply does credit card debt consolidation hurt your credit fake credit card numbers with security code for itunes mobile credit card machines ireland irs credit limit worksheet 2441 virtual visa debit card canada apply for a visa credit card for students fast online payday loans bank of america credit card login usa prepaid creditcard nederland mastercard best credit card company for students natwest credit card online banking credit cards with no annual fee for poor credit can you get a personal loan with bad credit credit card rewards uk best travel credit card for thailand does target sell visa gift cards get credit card with bad credit rating no credit check payday lenders direct getting a credit card machine with bad credit zero percent interest credit cards for 24 months best prepaid debit visa card types of hdfc bank credit cards how to apply for a credit card at target citi gold credit card uk template letter to claim credit card charges get a payday loan online direct lender credit card debt settlement companies in india canadian low rate credit cards capital one secured credit card review uk low interest unsecured credit cards for bad credit bank of ireland visa debit card locked the best credit cards 2013 malaysia fee free credit cards reward programs city union bank credit card online apply accept credit cards online square what are credit cards points discover? card virtual credit card generator titanium cashplus mastercard cash advance credit card atm best credit card for virgin air miles walmart credit card payment website virtual visa card for online shopping what credit card can i get best delta skymiles credit card best credit card reward program 2013 credit cards with rewards for fair credit bad credit credit cards guaranteed approval visa business credit card offers online hdfc credit card payment india online application for visa electron card contact united cash loans phone number best credit card deal uk hsbc sears credit card customer service department store credit cards for no credit history new social security credit card icici credit card bill payment status bad credit loans no fees or guarantor apply dbs debit visa card gas station credit cards for bad credit credit cards for poor credit with no annual fee discover virtual credit card number where can i buy a visa prepaid credit card discover credit card consolidation loans easy payday loans online japanese credit card number format discover credit card ratings visa cash back credit cards best best unsecured credit card after bankruptcy discharge can a credit card company take your tax refund no credit loans reviews where can i apply for a loan with bad credit disney rewards credit card application best credit card offer hsbc bank bangladesh international credit card apply for credit card without credit check department store credit cards with instant approval ann taylor loft credit card login lloyds tsb credit card customer services address bankrate average credit card rate chase 0 balance transfer prepaid credit cards business opportunity credit card reviews 2013 india what credit card to get with bad credit credit card cash advance atm limit american express small business credit card processing online credit card services natwest bank of america student credit cards with no credit hdfc credit card customer care number for bangalore how old do you have to be to get a credit card in canada how to use a credit card machine video citi debit visa card balance check credit card limit calculator international credit card services abn best fixed rate credit card deals icici bank credit card payment gateway starbucks platinum card sold out visa credit card offers usa annual fee free credit cards australia free credit check no credit card required uk credit card application check barclay credit card online banking how to redeem indianoil citibank credit card turbo points best payday loan sites no credit check how does a credit card work in india platinum card hull uni best credit cards uk martin lewis credit card after bankruptcy discharge australia average credit card debt uk 2012 loans to pay off debt with bad credit ntuc income credit card authorisation form what if i don;t want a credit card anymore paypal uk credit card reader credit card app for ipad 2 get easy credit card uk this transaction cannot be processed without a credit card verification number credit card services for small business canada rbs black credit card review vanquis credit card uk login rewards 660 visa credit card application consolidate credit cards canada credit cards after bankruptcy 2013 chase disney credit card credit card application hsbc philippines how can i apply for a mastercard comparison between credit cards in india 0 interest balance transfer credit cards malaysia standard chartered credit card online application status best credit card consolidation companies hsbc business credit cards uk household credit card debt 2011 how do 0 credit cards work aib visa card exchange rate unsecured credit card bad credit guaranteed approval credit card processing machines india standard chartered online credit card payment credit card compare uae hdfc gold credit card limits travel credit card uk us credit card number for kindle fire first premier bank credit card login page visa credit card usaa best credit card transfer deals nz compare the market credit cards balance transfer use paypal for credit card cash advance sbi personal loan apply online top 10 credit cards with low interest rates current credit card rates apr best credit cards to get with bad credit best cash back no fee credit card canada mortgages for bad credit northern ireland best credit card to get now barclay credit card apply online india getting credit cards after chapter 7 bankruptcy cheapest way to accept credit cards on website title loans online only chevron gas credit card apply best credit cards to use in the uk check your standard chartered credit card status zara black cashmere cardigan best cashback credit card 2013 canada credit card limit 10000 ambank credit card cashback 20 eligibility for standard chartered credit card india travel rewards cards for students easiest to get credit card canada balance transfer explained do i need a credit card to rent a car in canada 0 percent interest credit card transfer top gas reward cards icici credit card online payment ifsc code best cash back credit cards with no annual fee money mart prepaid credit cards in canada 10 best credit cards for students hsbc retail services for best buy credit cards best value credit card australia 2013 credit card payoff calculator excel spreadsheet remove apple credit card payday advance online bad credit peoples trust secured mastercard credit card application should i consolidate my credit card debt target visa card contact best mastercard credit cards rewards chase credit card visa united td canada credit card interest rates free credit card numbers that work 2012 compare credit card processing uk ambank transfer credit card balance square credit card reader ipad 2 hdfc credit card payment online from hdfc citibank credit card balance transfer online hsbc credit cards online payments best credit cards for college students studying abroad get a prepaid credit card instantly online hdfc credit card deals on movies credit card offers 2013 the best credit card for me best capital one card for bad credit bank of america credit card for business pay advance form 3d secure credit card validation mastercard capital credit card login page redflagdeals compare credit cards payday online loans reviews american express platinum card benefits uk credit card consolidation loan payment calculator cheapest credit card rates canada is discover more a good credit card can i get a credit card without a job and bad credit best uk credit cards 2013 tax refund on credit card interest icici credit card online payment billdesk fast payday loans direct lender credit card bad credit 1000 limit pro score credit card scale credit cards no credit check unsecured gas credit card reviews guaranteed payday loans for bad credit no fees best credit card terminal app for iphone joint credit card account uk portable credit card machine ireland new credit card charges set to hit consumers credit limit calculator for hdfc credit card anz reloadable prepaid credit cards credit card issuers in singapore best airmiles credit card uk 2013 receive credit card payments on android good credit cards to apply for with no credit credit card magnetic strip protector sleeve best refinance auto loan with bad credit alaska airlines credit card canada review my virgin credit card payment citibank business credit card payment pay walmart credit card bill online buy gold uk credit card chase credit card protection program remove credit card on file ebay no fee credit cards with cash back pay neiman marcus credit card maximum credit card limit calculator credit card number search tool best mobile credit card processing paypal what is the best credit card for me best credit card business credit card terminal application malaysia canadian credit card companies list gold cardigan monsoon which credit card offers the lowest interest rate wireless credit card terminal malaysia 5 cash back reward credit cards best credit card interest rates australia visa credit card fraud insurance excel sheet to calculate credit card interest best portable credit card machines barclays platinum simplicity credit card ipad app for accepting credit cards can i use my sears credit card at kmart best business credit card for airline miles chase get cash advance credit card online hdfc credit card offers what are considered major credit cards chase credit card comparisons contact halifax credit card address student credit card commonwealth bank australia major credit card companies wiki sbi credit card status platinum delta skymiles? credit card review payday loan no credit check no upfront fee hdfc credit card online payment through netbanking 0 apr credit cards for 12 months personal loan with bad credit online payday loan lenders uk new best cash back rewards business credit card best secured credit card bad credit ipad case with built in credit card reader instant online payday loans ohio transfer money from capital one credit card to bank account bank of america credit card 200 cash back list of all credit card processing companies best credit card to get with bad credit credit card loans in singapore direct payday loan lenders list how to download free apps for iphone 4 without credit card where can i buy visa cash cards computer credit card processing software top petrol cashback cards apply for wells fargo student credit card can you get store credit cards with bad credit do department store credit cards hurt your credit apply for wells fargo secured credit card list of payday lenders only discover credit card score requirements lowest credit card apr net pay advance inc report maurices credit card stolen bank of america merchant services credit card machines 0 apr business credit card offers how to increase credit limit on credit card starwood preferred guest credit card australia citi credit card balance transfer to bank account guaranteed payday loan lender new credit card fees retailers capital one secured credit cards for bad credit credit card with no annual fee philippines 2013 barclays credit card ppi refund business credit card with cash back rewards the best credit cards for students advance america cash advance reviews credit cards for poor credit scores uk what is a secured visa credit card credit card exchange rate calculator credit card cashback in store cash payday advance loans personal loan quotes online barclays credit card application status india low rate credit card australia secured business credit card with rewards capital one business credit card bad credit personal online loans with installment low introductory rate credit card canada new credit card apply online pnb chase freedom credit card customer service is it safe to apply for payday loans online best free balance transfer credit card lost td visa card buy mobile credit card machines how do i apply for a debit mastercard sears credit card application phone halifax credit card minimum payment amount best value credit card singapore best credit card for limited or no credit history where can i use my go mastercard online loan lenders for the unemployed use of company credit cards policy lane bryant credit card reviews best fixed rate credit cards 2013 how do i accept credit cards online best credit card reward program in india united airline credit card promotions american express credit card approval process chase credit card 0 apr using credit card abroad barclays credit card payment best buy credit card credit check hdfc credit card loan apply average household credit card debt in canada best secured credit card in india credit card balance transfer instant approval can i pay with 2 credit cards on walmart com walmart credit card status online company credit card policy free prepaid credit card credit builder uk visa card security code number axis bank credit card customer care apply for a credit card online visa credit cards with no international fees square credit card review 2012 natwest platinum credit card rewards unsecured credit loans for bad credit want to apply for credit card online hdfc bank standard chartered credit card promotions malaysia citibank credit card loan review unsecured credit card bad credit ok credit card issuers market share apply credit card online indian bank compare the market cash back credit cards citi american airlines credit card benefits printable visa credit card applications lowest rate mobile credit card processing get a prepaid credit card today reclaim credit card charges 2011 best first credit card for young adults with no credit ed sheeran nandos black card credit card merchant agreement visa want to apply for sbi credit card online best zero percent credit cards 2013 jcpenney credit card pay walmart visa debit card login best high limit credit cards for bad credit fast online payday loans uk secure sleeve credit card protector sentinel credit card loss protection icici online credit card application credit card terminal for iphone paypal bad credit loans online canada pay as you go mobile credit card processing intuit canada credit card processing hdfc credit card apply pc america credit card processing free credit card authorization form pdf chase southwest rapid rewards credit card review cash back mastercard credit cards do all credit cards have ppi instant unsecured credit card approval for poor credit lowes ge credit card address what is the best prepaid credit card to rebuild credit finding lowest rates merchant credit card accounts providers compare icici and citibank credit card actual online payday loan lenders can i apply for sears credit card online natwest business credit card helpline bank of ireland credit card balance transfers westpac visa credit card travel insurance average credit card rates history credit card numbers that work online 2013 public bank manchester united credit card getting a capital one credit card after bankruptcy gas credit cards bad credit shell iphone app for rewards cards mobile credit card machines south africa your access to natwest credit card online services is locked out cash back credit cards canada orchard credit card bank online payday loans direct lenders ohio how to avoid credit card frauds
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 743 guests online

Atom RSS

Opening Statement: Chase Carey Pres. and CEO of DirecTV PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 5
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  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, 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 (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
[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.



Should MLB Force Jeffery Loria to Sell the Marlins?