Retransmission arguments to be heard in Senate


The Senate Commerce Committee is planning to take an up-close-and-personal look at the Comcast/NBCU merger this year, and according to a report in The Hill’s Hillicon Valley blog, it’s also going to look at the state of retransmission consent while it’s at it.

Like at the end of most years, retransmission contracts expired and in some cases negotiations over new contracts got testy. Commerce Communications Subcommittee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) got involved in some cases, particularly the battle between Fox Television and Time Warner Cable, so it comes as no surprise that he’d like to take up the matter.

Cable operators have been complaining to the FCC and anybody else who will listen about broadcasters who threaten to withdraw their must-have programming if a retransmission agreement cannot be reached.

Broadcasters wonder why, if their programming is indeed must-have, cable operators think they should get it for far less than they pay for satellite-delivered services that draw only a fraction of the audience that broadcast stations bring to the system.