DirecTV’s new advertising campaign is really rankling Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA). The cable company tried to convince a federal judge this week to slap DirecTV (NYSE: DTV) with a temporary restraining order, or TRO, which would have stopped DirecTV’s ad campaign in its tracks. That isn’t going to happen.
“We’re pleased the judge recognized Comcast’s veiled attempt to limit our ability to compete in the marketplace and denied the TRO,” DirecTV SVP of Marketing Jon Gieselman said in a statement. “We’re happy to go head-to-head with Comcast any day on whose service is superior, so we look forward to competing in the marketplace rather than the courtroom.”
In court papers, DirecTV’s response focused on Comcast’s delay. “There is no true emergency here,” wrote DirecTV lawyers. “More than two months have passed since DirecTV began this advertising campaign that Comcast now wants a TRO to stop. Comcast’s delay demonstrates that there is no urgency that would warrant emergency (or any) relief.”
The next step is that Comcast could get a preliminary injunction. That would give them some of the same relief they sought with the TRO, but will require more argument and allow DirecTV to defend itself. A Comcast spokeswoman did note that the federal judge overseeing the case agreed to expedite the hearing on the preliminary injunction, bumping it up to August 24.
The dispute stems from a DirecTV ad campaign that tells consumers that its popular NFL Sunday Ticket package is available at no extra charge to new subscribers. Comcast says that’s false advertising, because the package requires a 2-year contract and involves cancellation fees for subscribers who don’t fulfill the 2-year commitment.