A get-together for cable operators put together by the American Cable Association hosted FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, who discussed the state of retransmission negotiation policy. She noted she was prepared to seek remedies if market-based negotiations seem to be failing.
Clyburn said, “I fully understand the intent of the retrans rules, and that market forces should be allowed to work. But I am on the lookout for the consumers in this country, and if the market isn’t working, we need to consider taking appropriate steps.”
ACA’s Matt Polka stated, “ACA is incredibly grateful that Commissioner Clyburn would take the time to address hundreds of ACA members on the vitally important matter of retransmission consent reform. This is an issue that is having a significant impact on independent cable operators that provide hometown America with critical communications services and infrastructure. We look forward to working on the retransmission consent rulemaking with Commissioner Clyburn throughout the entire regulatory process.”
The association also thanked Clyburn for her work putting requirements on the Comcast/NBCU joint venture that guarantee small cable systems will have access to must-have programming. That particular condition has a seven-year life span.
ACA says it is concerned that unaffiliated local broadcast stations will team together to negotiate rates in order to “…extract excessive carriage fees from small cable operators,” and is urging the FCC to put regulations in place that would prevent such a practice.
RBR-TVBR observation: We hope that Commissioner Clyburn realizes that there are two parties in any negotiation, and it cannot be assumed that one is always the cause of a failed negotiation. A strong case can be made that some MVPDs have been deliberately refusing to come to terms in an attempt to induce government action in their favor.