EchoStar has asked the FCC to deny Liberty‘s $11bln acquisition of News Corp‘s 39% stake in DirecTV, warning in comments filed late Fri that a merged entity would exact "higher price and less choice… to multichannel video programming distributors and consumers." EchoStar pointed to Liberty’s TCI past, saying it operated "ruthlessly" in acquiring and creating programming and in its treatment of unaffiliated video providers and programmers. "Viacom‘s Sumner Redstone concluded bluntly that: ‘Mr [John] Malone decides what people can hear and see in the United States," DISH wrote. If the FCC approves the deal as expected, DISH wants Liberty to face RSN conditions, including arbitration, for any Liberty-affiliated RSN. That would include new RSNs, not just the 3 RSNs in this transaction. It wants the conditions to apply for at least 6 years from the close of the deal. DISH also argues that program access protections should apply to intl programming, as well as domestic. The Consumers Union and other watchdog groups want the FCC to reject the deal unless they find that Liberty and News’ financial interests are not implicitly or explicitly intertwined. NCTC, which is in the midst of an arbitration proceeding with Fox Cable Nets as it attempts to negotiate deals for members, told the FCC that the same conditions imposed on News Corp in 2004 should apply to Liberty. NCTC also argues that RSN conditions should apply to all News Corp-affiliated RSNs (not just the 3 RSNs Liberty will acquire in the deal) due to their commonality of operations.

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Increased online shopping should actually help the industry, particularly all these DTC streaming offerings.

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