The FCC has adopted new Market Modification rules that would allow DIRECTV to potentially add some out-of-market broadcast television stations to counties in multistate DMAs where viewers are not currently receiving stations from their home state.
"In certain multistate Designated Market Areas (“DMAs”), satellite subscribers located in out-of-state counties within a DMA are sometimes unable to receive in-state broadcast television stations and therefore may lack access to in-state news, sports, public affairs, political information, and emergency information," the FCC said. "The STELAR Act addresses this so-called “orphan county” problem by allowing the Commission to modify, upon the request of a television station, satellite operator, or county government, a particular commercial television broadcast station’s local television market to add or delete communities to better reflect market realities."
Only television stations, satellite operators, or county governments may file a market modification petition with the FCC.
While the Market Modification rules also allow satellite providers to request market modifications, DIRECTV feels that a local county government or station is in a far better position to provide the backup information necessary to present a compelling case to the FCC related to this issue. At this time, DIRECTV does not feel that it is appropriate for us to initiate any market modification requests.
There is no guarantee that a Market Modification petition will be approved by the FCC. One of the reasons the petition may not be approved is that it may not be possible from a technical perspective for DIRECTV to actually deliver the requested stations to the requested county. If it is possible for DIRECTV to deliver the requested stations to the requested county, it’s not yet clear how long it may take for a Market Modification petition to be approved by the FCC.
A Market Modification petition must designate specific stations, and the FCC advises that county governments enlist the help of any stations they include in their petitions, because to the extent the stations oppose the Market Modification, carriage of those stations won’t actually result. In summary, you will only be able to receive the specific stations that are designated in the approved Market Modification petition, and only those stations which do not oppose the petition.
For more information about market modifications, please visit the FCC website