Retransmission consent cheap shot of the day


ChatTribune and Cablevision are locked in an extended retransmission consent impasse that has resulted in the loss of local Tribune broadcasts in Connecticut. The American Cable Association has taken the beginning of the World Series as a cue to blame it all on Tribune.

ACA’s Matt Polka said, “This year, we have seen a record number of broadcaster signal blackouts against pay-TV providers and their customers, fueled by years of creeping media consolidation, collusive bargaining tactics by TV station owners and programmers’ tying-and-bundling schemes designed to deny choice while driving up monthly bills.

He concluded, “When 50,000 Connecticut households with cable service can’t see baseball’s World Series because of Tribune’s blackout that began Aug. 24, the market is not working, regulation has failed and the time for change has arrived. ACA urges Congress and the Federal Communications Commission to reject broadcasters’ ‘market-is-working’ chant and seek to craft solutions that will address the concerns of millions of broadcaster-abused consumers in a direct and material way.”

RBR-TVBR observation: Last we heard, it takes two to cause a stalemate – Cablevision can end this just as easily as Tribune can. Maybe Polka should be asking Cablevision to be reasonable.

And if there are a record number of broadcast blackouts, it’s because three MVPDs have been prominent participants in the majority of them: DISH, DirecTV and TWC. It appears for the most part that broadcasters and MVPDs are arriving at a consensus as to what the value of a local broadcast channel is, and most retransmission consent negotiations conclude peacefully with no disruption of service.

Congress and the FCC should ignore ACA, especially since its members are utterly incapable of providing the critical boots on the ground emergency services that the citizens of America have come to rely of broadcasters to provide in times of crisis.