Advance retreats on Discovery investment while Sky Angel fights for programming

Privately held newspaper and magazine powerhouse Advance Publications, Discovery Communications' (Nasdaq: DISCA) biggest shareholder, has sold $500 million worth of preferred stock back to the cable programmer as a way to "take a small percentage of our investment in Discovery and diversify into new acquisitions and investments," according to a statement attributed to Advance President Donald Newhouse.

And, in other news, IP service provider Sky Angel added fuel and a letter to the FCC in effort to get Discovery to give it programming. Discovery said it has no obligation to give content to Sky Angel since the IP service provider is not technically a multichannel video programming distributor as defined by federal law. Sky Angel claims that Discovery gives content to Dish Network that is carried online and thus it has opened the door for other service platforms that use a similar delivery method.

Sky Angel's claim, submitted in a letter to the FCC is that, "Congress used ‘multiple channels' to mean multiple programming networks, certainly not multiple portions of electromagnetic frequency spectrum used in a cable system."

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