US Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) believes that retransmission consent negotiations can get noisy, but in the end, adding regulatory recourse being requested by MVPDs would merely prolong the process while tilting the advantage their way. He suggests maintaining the status quo.
“Negotiations in every marketplace can get noisy from time to time,” wrote Gingrey, “but the occasional increase in volume does not give rise to the supposed remedies set forth in the underlying petition. Retransmission consent is an example of a negotiation in which both sides would be harmed if an agreement were not struck. Instituting a standstill would tilt the negotiating leverage entirely in the direction of the operator. When combined with arbitration, the likelihood that every negotiation would be dragged out until the bitter end would be significantly increased.”
He concluded that the FCC has a lot of other work to do, and said, “…it is my belief that becoming an active referee of market negotiations across the country would only distract from your vital mission.”
RBR-TVBR observation: If you know that you can eventually take a negotiation to a third party arbitrator of some sort, it relieves you of the need to bargain in good faith to a degree. The FCC needs to be aware of the fact that there have been very few interruptions of service caused by testy retransmission talks and leave the system alone.