Top cable companies support FCC's disclosure of programming deals

Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA), Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) and Charter (NASDAQ: CHTR) have petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C., offering their support for the FCC's decision to disclose details about program licensing deals for the purpose of regulatory review.

The cable companies said they didn't have an issue with release of the VPCI (video programming confidential information) since viewing of it would be restricted to "certain counsel and consultants" and "subject to stringent protective orders." In its own filing to the court, the Federal Communications Commission accused media companies fighting the disclosures of perpetrating "overheated rhetoric."

The U.S. Appeals Court of D.C. stayed the release of the information, which was supposed to occur Monday. The court is considering the arguments of major programming conglomerates including Time Warner Inc., Viacom and Disney, among others, who say the disclosure will harm their positions in future pay-TV negotiations.

The court stayed the FCC's disclosure until at least Wednesday, Nov. 19, so it can hear both sides of the argument.

The FCC's Media Bureau has ruled disclosure of the information necessary for the purpose of approving the proposed Comcast/TWC and AT&T/DirecTV mergers.

For more:
- read this Deadline Hollywood story
- read this Multichannel News story

Related links:
Appeals court stays FCC's plan to disclose programmer's contracts with pay-TV operators
FCC set to unveil pay-TV programming deals on Nov. 17
FCC denies programmers' plea to limit document access during merger reviews
FCC pauses shot clock on AT&T-DirecTV merger, as Andreessen and Cuban offer their support
Obama tells FCC to take Title II path

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