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  1. #1

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    Disney fights bundle breakups

    Disney fighting bundle breakups

    By Brooks Boliek
    The Hollywood Reporter
    Jan 7, 2008

    WASHINGTON -- Disney and other huge programmers are attempting to blunt a government effort that would prevent them from bundling channels in sales to cable and satellite operators.

    In papers filed Friday, Disney told the FCC that it is barred from writing a rule that would void the so-called "tying arrangements" because that is outside the FCC's jurisdiction.

    "The FCC cannot prohibit packaged offerings because it has no legal authority to do so," Disney said. "In order to adopt a regulation, an agency must have express statutory authority from Congress or properly exercise its ancillary jurisdiction. In this case, no part of the (law) authorizes the FCC to interfere with the substance of carriage negotiations."

    While the proposal effects Disney, Viacom, NBC Universal and News Corp., Disney, with its ESPN family of networks and the Disney Channel, has become a leader in the fight over carriage deals.

    Disney also contends that the regulation is unnecessary because the company doesn't "tie" its networks together.

    "Disney does not require carriage of its two most popular cable channels: ESPN and Disney Channel," Disney Media Networks global distribution president Benjamin Pyne said in a sworn statement.

  2. #2

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    Re: Disney fights bundle breakups

    The entertainment industry bundles as a rule:
    1. Theater chain wants to show a sure-fire hit? Well, it has to take these three sure-fire flops, too.
    2. Giant retailer wants to stock as many sure-fire hit DVDs as possible? Well, it has to take these sure fire flop DVDs, too, and stick them near the sure-fire DVD display.
    3. You, audience member, want high-demand tickets to a TV show? well, you have to sit through these crappy sit-com shows first.
    4. You, consumer at Costco, want a DVD of an old movie? Well, you have to get these three other crappy ones, too.
    I'm sure there are other examples. Heck, most concerts have a headliner and some low-liner on the undercard.
    Not saying it's right, but that's how it is. I'd rather be billed by my cable company based on what I watch, and that the cable company pays the content provider based on what I (and everyone else) watches. Downside to this is that only things the teeming masses enjoy would be showed, leaving the tail-dwellers (of the bell curve -- the higher-brow one) with nothing to watch.
    "Here You Leave the World of California Today and Enter the World of, um, er, California Today."

  3. #3

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    Re: Disney fights bundle breakups

    Disney is right. Congress would have to write specific legislation.

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