Liberman signs carriage deal with DirecTV after losing out in Comcast discrimination complaint


After striking out with the FCC in a carriage discrimination complaint against Comcast, Spanish-language broadcaster Liberman Broadcasting has struck a carriage deal with the No. 2 pay-TV platform, DirecTV.

The deal will put network Estrella TV on the program guides of more than 20 million satellite TV customers. (Notably, the announcement doesn’t include the soon-to-launch virtual-MVPD platform DirecTV Now.)

"This agreement illustrates Estrella TV's importance as a content provider of relevant and original Spanish language television programing in the U.S.," said Cathy Lewis Edgerton, senior VP of distribution and affiliate sales, Estrella TV Network.

In April, Liberman filed an FCC complaint against Comcast, accusing the conglomerate of blacking out its owned and operated stations in Denver, Houston and Salt Lake City in order to favor its own Spanish-language programming assets, which include Telemundo and NBC Universo.

However, in late August, the FCC ruled, essentially, that Liberman is not a “video programming vendor” seeking a carriage deal for its Estrella TV. The company is actually a broadcaster, the FCC said, whose signal is carried on broadcast retransmission licensing.

"While it could be argued that Liberman is engaged in the 'production, creation, or wholesale distribution of video programming for sale' to the extent it seeks compensation from Comcast for carriage of its television broadcast stations, it is in fact negotiating compensation for the retransmission of its television broadcast 'signal' rather than carriage of the 'video programming' contained within that signal," the FCC said in its order. 

For more:
- read this Liberman Media press release

Related articles:
Comcast wins FCC ruling over Liberman's discrimination complaint
Comcast asks FCC to toss Estrella/Liberman complaint
Estrella operator Liberman files FCC complaint against Comcast, says it's favoring Telemundo