The National Association has filed reply comments with the FCC on the issue of retransmission negotiation with MVPDs. It bluntly states that many arguments put forth by organizations representing the cable industry are without merit.
One issue is including non-cash compensation in negotiations. NAB notes that historically, many cable systems have flatly refused to pay cash for the right to retransmit broadcast programming. Broadcasters have worked with them, and in many instances accepted carriage of additional program services in lieu of a straight cash agreement. It is therefore disingenuous for MVPDs to suddenly complain about the existence of such agreements.
NAB also responded to the charge that broadcasters put forth "take it or leave it" proposals, noting that the FCC has found not a single such incident over the last five years. It also notes that the rules do not contain an overt bias against cable systems, pointing out that in some small markets, small broadcasters are pitted against huge national cable operators. It finally argues that in the absence of full carriage mandates, broadcasters have been left with the necessity of negotiating carriage of HD side channels such as 24-hour weather services.
"For all these reasons, the Commission should not depart from its prior decisions that permit broadcasters to negotiate for various types of compensation, including carriage of additional channels, as part of the free market retransmission consent negotiation process," NAB concluded.