The hearing scheduled by the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet for Wednesday, 11/17/10 will not lack for executive star power. John Kerry (D-MA) has invited Fox Television’s Chase Carey and Cablevision’s Tom Rutledge, among others.
The hearing was scheduled in reaction to the recent testy retransmission battle between Fox and Cablevision. It resulted in disruption of service to Cablevision subscribers resulting from Fox’s decision to pull its broadcast TV stations and some cable channels that were also on the table. The loss of service caused subscribers to miss NFL games and part of baseball’s World Series.
When consumers are caught in the middle of a negotiation like this and are blacked out of major sports happenings and other special events, it definitely gets the interest of the political class.
Absent from the meeting are any members of the FCC, which currently has a proceeding on retransmission pending. However, both Carey and Rutledge will have an ally – Univision and Time Warner Cable execs are on the list. The fifth is from fine arts cable channel Ovation.
Here are the five witnesses as listed by the committee:
Mr. Glenn Britt, President and CEO, Time Warner Cable
Mr. Chase Carey, Deputy Chairman, President and COO, News Corporation
Mr. Tom Rutledge, COO, Cablevision Systems Corp.
Mr. Joe Uva, President and CEO, Univision Communications Inc.
Mr. Charles Segars, CEO, Ovation
The hearing kicks off at 2:30 PM eastern.
RBR-TVBR observation: Ovation is an interesting choice. The cable channel is competing for MVPD fees with broadcasters, but is partly owned BY a broadcast group – Hubbard. We’ll be interested in the take Ovation exec Charles Segars has on this topic.