DirecTV (NYSE: T) has demurred on a request from California Congresswoman Janice Hahn (D-San Pedro) to return to the bargaining table with Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) and discuss carriage of TWC SportsNet LA.
"We have always been and remain willing to meet with Time Warner in a confidential setting that keeps the business discussions between the parties," said Michael Balmoris, spokesman for DirecTV parent company AT&T.
Balmoris wouldn't comment to FierceCable when asked if and how TWC upset confidentiality — although the Los Angeles Times, which has broken a steady stream of stories about the on-and-off SportsNet LA negotiations, is getting its info from somewhere.
The Times reported that AT&T also sent a response letter to Hahn, accusing TWC of practicing "unproductive posturing."
Regional sports network SportsNet LA is the exclusive local TV home of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and its lack of carriage on the No. 2 MVPD in the SoCal region has been an emotional issue, with about half the area blacked out from Dodgers games for a third season. DirecTV has said there simply aren't enough rabid Dodgers fans to justify the expense of licensing SportsNet LA at TWC's price.
TWC has kicked DirecTV's posterior in the public relations battle of late, offering a range of deal terms in March — right as the Major League Baseball season started — that were rejected by DirecTV.
Whether these offers were earnest attempts to solve the 26-month-old carriage impasse is tough to say. But the general consumer reception is now that DirecTV is drawing the hard line.
- read this Los Angeles Times story
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