NAB pans Eshoo retrans bill


Gordon SmithNAB President/CEO Gordon Smith said he has long been an admirer of Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and her “thoughtful approach” to legislating, and against that backdrop, was surprised by her retransmission consent draft bill which he believes is completely slanted to the cable point of view.

Smith said, “I have great personal affection for ranking minority member Eshoo and have long admired her thoughtful approach to legislating. I am therefore surprised by the pro-pay TV slant of her retransmission consent draft bill, which could embolden pay-TV giants to continue to game the system rather than negotiate in the free market for programming most valuable to viewers.

“Fundamentally, there is no such thing as a ‘black-out’ of broadcast TV programming. Our programming is always on, and always available to viewers on multiple platforms, including free to over-the-air antenna households.

“Our overriding goal is to increase viewer access to broadcast programming. A truly ‘pro-consumer’ bill would ask whether Time Warner Cable’s attempts to restrict that access to only its ‘TV Everywhere’ model does the same.
“Moreover, it is troubling that a proposal billed as ‘pro-consumer’ continues to allow pay-TV providers to avoid viewer rebates for loss of broadcast TV programming during a disruption. Coincidentally, the draft bill is also silent on ending the practice of charging consumers upwards of $200 in ‘early termination fees’ to shift to another pay-TV provider during a disruption.

“Time Warner Cable, DirecTV and DISH are spending millions in Washington manufacturing a crisis over retransmission consent, when in fact it is these three companies responsible for nine out of 10 disruptions of service.
“NAB strongly opposes this draft bill.”

RBR-TVBR’s story on the bill can be read here.