Should We Rethink Retrans Consent On Its Silver Anniversary?

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The 1992 Cable Act created, among other things, the concept of retransmission consent. Under this still-current law, every three years commercial TV stations are given the choice of obtaining traditional “must carry” status with multichannel video distributors (MVPDs) or going in a different route. That fork in the road, taken by many a broadcast TV company, is retrans consent — where rebroadcast can only happen via a formal agreement.

There’s been significant escalation in the prices paid by MVPDs to carry TV stations choosing the retrans option, and disputes leading to “blackouts” of channels dominating the headlines for much of the start of 2017.

What’s the legislative and regulatory future for retransmission consent? That’s what the Digital Policy Institute at Ball State University sought to answer in a webinar held Thursday morning from its Muncie, Ind., main campus.

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