Think tank to government: Hands off retransmission


Broadcast retransmission consent negotiations have become a fact of life in the video-delivery marketplace, and although they can turn into hardball contests, they almost always are concluded with no disruption of service to MVPD subscribers. Watchdog Frontiers of Freedom is telling Congress to stay out of the process and asks that it take two bills favoring government intervention and render them into oblivion.

The bills are S. 2008, from Senate Communications Subcommittee Ranking Member Jim DeMint (R-SC) and H.R. 3678, from House Subcommittee member Steve Scalise (R-LA). Both would set up the possibility of federal intrusion into tough negotiations.

FOF President/CEO George Landrith asked members of Congress to resist the bills. He said, “We have a functioning marketplace that works over 99 percent of the time, so why is there a need for the federal government to get involved? The pay-TV industry is trying to distort the market in their favor by forcing the broadcasters to give their signal away for free when negotiations break down. Let’s let the market continue to work effectively as it does today.

Landrith continued, “Market distortions will end predictably as they always do with consumers losing as a result of having to pay more for less choice. Let’s put an end to this and other ‘reforms’ which would have the government pick winners and losers in the marketplace. Congress should let the marketplace work.”

FOF is the 1994 product of  former U.S. Senator Malcolm Wallop (R-WY). It’s self-description: “FOF is an educational institute (or think tank) whose mission is to promote conservative public policy based on the principles of individual freedom, peace through strength, limited government, free enterprise, and traditional American values as found in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.”