Several days after losing the first round in court, Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA) has dropped its false advertising case against DirecTV (NYSE: DTV), with very little to show for the legal action.
The lawsuit was over DirecTV’s promotion of its NFL Sunday Ticket package, which it is offering to consumers for free for one year. Comcast said that was misleading because it wasn’t disclosed that consumers get slapped with fees after a year. The cable company also said that DirecTV’s ads misled consumers by implying that cable service (by implication, Comcast service) didn’t include much football.
In a post on its corporate blog, the company spins the dropped case like it’s a win, writing that “DirecTV has discontinued or modified its false and misleading advertising to consumers regarding its NFL Sunday Ticket package as a result of our legal action.”
In addition, a Comcast source told paidContent that DirecTV modified one ad and actually pulled two of the ads that Comcast objected to.
A DirecTV spokesman said straight out that no ads were pulled, but “a small graphic enhancement was made to one of the ads a week ago.” The company’s statement on the case, sent by email, reads: “Comcast can spin it any way they want but they lost the TRO [temporary restraining order] last week and they withdrew their case today because they knew they were going to lose. Our NFL Sunday Ticket campaign will continue to air as planned. We won, plain and simple.”
However, the court docket refers to the end of the case as a “settlement,” so it does seem like DirecTV agreed to something.
On the one hand it’s a bit of “he said, she said,” but all things considered, Comcast got almost nothing that it originally asked for. The company asked a judge [PDF] to block the whole ad campaign, and in its original complaint [PDF] it asked for DirecTV to cough up “all profits wrongfully derived” by its “false and misleading representations.” None of that is going to happen. This lawsuit looks like a serious overreach by Comcast.