weighs in on STAVRA


ChatRobert Kenny of applauded Senate Commerce Committee approval of a cleaned-up STAVRA, minus several proposed planks that would have been harmful to local broadcasting. But he added that there is more work to do to protect consumers from “greedy pay-TV providers.”

“We are encouraged by the Senate Commerce Committee’s bipartisan effort to eliminate provisions that would have hurt the public interest and cost consumers considerably more on their monthly pay-TV bill. We now need a greater public dialogue about the future of the video marketplace, and how to best protect consumers from greedy pay-TV providers,” said Kenney.

He added, “In the days ahead, our 28-member broad-based coalition, will continue to engage lawmakers, policymakers, consumer advocacy groups and industry leaders to preserve the basic tier and protect consumers’ interests.”

Kenny had kind words for two Committee members: Claire McCaskill (D-MO) for suggesting reforms to curb constant MVPD subscription hikes; and Ed Markey (D-MA), for suggesting for allowing third-party companies to sell set-top boxes currently rented to consumers by MVPDs unhampered by any kind of competition.

Two other joined with Kenny in applauding the day’s events.

“Our main concern with proposals like ‘Local Choice’ is that it will have a dramatic, negative effect on our agricultural community,” said Jack Alexander, President, Rural and Agriculture Council of America (RACA). “RACA is comprised of farmers, ranchers, main street business owners and local elected officials that have come to rely on local TV broadcasters as a trusted source for news, weather updates, and emergency information. Local broadcast programming is critical to helping us grow and sustain our local and regional economies. We urge Congress to keep rural interests in mind as it seeks to modernize the U.S. video marketplace in the coming year.”

“Proposals like ‘Local Choice’ negatively impact all consumers, but those who watch Spanish language television would be disproportionately affected by this unproven new business model,” said Gus West, President, The Hispanic Institute. “Because not all people can watch Spanish-language programming, Spanish speaking households would wind up paying a higher price per capita for this access than under the current pay-TV system. We hope these pay-TV sponsored provisions do not resurface in the next Congress.”