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Judge Backs Time Warner Cable In DirecTV Flap

February 8, 2007

Federal District Court Judge Laura Taylor Swain of the Southern District of New York has ordered DirecTV to stop running two national ads that claim the satellite television provider offers a superior High-Definition service to Time Warner Cable's

Judge Swain's ruling specifically prohibits running such advertising in markets served by Time Warner until resolution of an existing suit against DirecTV against Time Warner.

Filed in December, 2006, the Time Warner suit was filed against DirecTV for a series of ads featuring performers Jessica Simpson and William Shatner- also claiming DirecTV has a superior picture than Time Warner Cable can offer.

There is a complication in Judge Swain's ruling, however.

Judge Swain ruled that DirecTV can still claim to offer an overall better picture quality than Time Warner, just not a better HD picture quality. Ms. Swain rejected Time Warner's request that DirecTV run corrective ads as well.

DirecTV released a statement right after the ruling:

 "Of course, Time Warner will attempt to spin this preliminary ruling as a victory, but essentially all they have done, by wasting legal fees and management resources, is to obtain an order which stops us from running two spots in their local markets that finished their flights nearly two months ago … we can continue to aggressively market our better overall picture quality, which is permitted by the court's opinion, and soon we will have far more HD capacity than cable. It's obvious their strategy is to fight with us in the courts since they can't compete with our superior product in the marketplace-we are confident we will prevail on both fronts." 


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