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The DirecTV Thing

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Senator Kerry didn't get the chance to question the head of FCC but he did send a letter.  In the government, letters do carry weight.

Stepping up his attack against Major League Baseball's plan to move its "Extra Innings" package of pay-per-view games exclusively to News Corp.'s DirecTV, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., fired off a letter Thursday night calling on Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin to "investigate this exclusive deal and report to Congress on its implications for consumers."

Kerry says in the letter obtained by USA TODAY he has "serious concerns" about the proposed deal, which he believes "reduces consumer choice and competition."


"Fans who want to purchase Extra Innings will be forced to pay whatever DirecTV charges, and those who cannot subscribe to DirecTV, like some apartment building residents, will have no option at all," wrote Kerry in the letter to the FCC's Martin.

"In short, MLB and DirecTV will pocket millions of dollars at the expense of millions of American consumers and real competition in the marketplace."

Oh, should your television coverage have said something along these lines (and over 100 did):

Massachusetts Senator John Kerry has spoken out about this topic and plans to raise the matter with the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Kerry, though, can complain all he wants. The FCC has no jurisdiction over non-broadcast TV.

That isn't quite right.  It is true that the FCC doesn't censor cable or satellite programs the way it does the free airwaves but that doesn't mean they still aren't the regulating authority.


The Enforcement Bureau (EB) is responsible for enforcement of provisions of the Communications Act 1934, FCC rules, FCC orders, and terms and conditions of station authorizations. Major areas of enforcement that are handled by the Enforcement Bureau are consumer protection, local competition, public safety, and homeland security.



The Media Bureau (MB) develops, recommends and administers the policy and licensing programs relating to electronic media, including cable television, broadcast television, and radio in the United States and its territories. The Media Bureau also handles post-licensing matters regarding direct broadcast satellite service


DirecTV already has a license and therefore falls under the FCC in one form or another.