NAB Assails Cable Association On FCC Bundling


acaThe NAB has slammed the American Cable Association for its request to the FCC to restrict bundling by programmers, arguing that granting the request would have “clear and extremely unfortunate exclusionary effects” and lead to less diversity on pay-TV systems.

In an ex parte letter to the FCC from lead NAB attorney Rick Kaplan, the leading trade association for radio and TV stations took the ACA to task for asking the Commission to restrict bundling – including the inclusion of a “Spanish-language channel for cable systems with very few Spanish-speaking customers” and an “urban-interest channel for rural cable systems.”

In the NAB’s view, the ACA request would have “clear and extremely unfortunate exclusionary effects.”

ACA President/CEO Matthew M. Polka  responded, saying, “For broadcasters to suggest that ACA’s position promotes “segregation … according to race and ethnicity” is unfortunate and highly misleading.”

Note: This story was updated at 3:15pm ET on Sept. 1 to include comments from ACA President/CEO Matthew M. Polka.

RBR + TVBR OBSERVATION (in full below, for subscribers): The NAB makes some excellent points, and the ACA, while honest in its assessment that bundling leads to higher household bills, is indeed treading on thin ice here. The ACA should begin to work with the cable networks on a cost solution, so that cable bills remain fair to the subscriber while channel choices are not impaired.

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