ACA wants Washington to get back to work


ACA / American Cable AssociationAnd that, to the American Cable Association, means going after broadcast television stations and their quest for retransmission consent fees. It is also none too happy about sports rights contracts being signed by big media companies.

ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka stated, “The American Cable Association congratulates President Obama on his re-election victory Tuesday night and all new and returning Members of Congress that ACA will work with in the days ahead.  With the long campaign season behind us, the independent cable community looks forward to working with the Administration, Congress and the Federal Communications Commission in helping to identify the critical communications policy reforms that deserve bipartisan support.

“Given broadcasters’ record number of TV signal blackouts in 2012 in addition to reports that TV station retransmission consent fees will hit $6 billion in 2018 and massive new sports programming costs will drive pay-TV bills through the roof, ACA is hopeful that the next four years will yield true progress for consumers. We believe in greater choice and we support efforts to prevent media conglomerates from using consumers as pawns to gain financial leverage over family-owned business serving hometown America.”

RBR-TVBR observation: Why do some cable organizations make it seem like broadcast fees are the only price pressures they are facing?

We’re glad Polka at least mentioned sports rights – an issue that involves both broadcast- and cable-based suppliers.

We’re a little perplexed by the continual focus on the “unprecedented” number of blackouts – especially since the three biggest culprits, TWC, Dish and DirecTV, are hardly typical of the membership of ACA.

An earlier study by SNL Kagan suggested that broadcast goals for retransmission consent were arguably lower than broadcasters deserve, and that the costs should be sustainable for most MVPDs.

ACA fails to mention that just maybe it is paying too much for some of the basic cable material it carries, and that just maybe having such channels forced on its membership through bundling and other tactics might be a bigger cost problem than broadcast.

It also fails to mention that there is a reason the local broadcast stations are must-have. Just maybe they deserve to be compensated on the same level as many less-viewed basic cable channels.

One final note: Washington – when cable comes knocking on your door again, remember it has been the broadcast community, not the MVPD community, providing critical local information during the recent east coast weather disasters. And it’ll be the same thing for the next one.

It shouldn’t be too hard to figure out which side to support when the choice boils down to protecting the profits of the MVPD community v. protecting access to critical emergency information for citizens, as provided by the broadcast community.