The American Cable Association is holding its 19th Washington Summit, and Chairwoman Colleen Abdoulah is using the occasion to call for the modernization of the rules governing broadcast retransmission consent. She claims that broadcasters are “abusing their market power.”
“We all know that the retransmission consent law is out of date. Modernizing this law would demonstrate that Congress is capable of acting on overwhelming evidence that broadcasters are abusing their market power to swell their bottom line,” Abdoulah said.
ACA’s Matt Polka noted that broadcasters would not let the ACA claims go unrebutted, adding, “The ACA Summit is an unmatched opportunity to deliver our message to the people who can make a difference, and I hope you take full advantage of the opportunity. Don’t be surprised if you bump into National Association of Broadcasters boosters on your rounds in Congress.”
Abdoulah mentioned legislation that is currently pending in Congress. “Last December, Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina and Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana proposed market-oriented bills that would eliminate video laws and regulations that unfairly advantage the broadcast industry. We look forward to working with Sen. DeMint and Rep. Scalise, knowing full well that broadcasters oppose this bill because they want to see their regulatory crutches maintained,” Abdoulah said.
RBR-TVBR observation: MVPDs complain on the one hand that broadcasters provide must-have programming, then on the other hand they complain about paying a fair price for it. We suggest that it is not broadcasters asking for too much compensation, it’s the fact that little-watched basic cable channels are already receiving too much compensation.
Rather than attacking broadcasters – generally an MVPD’s sole source of local programming – they should be working to adjust other fees from less-critical program suppliers on the out-of-market satellite-delivered side.