This week, FCC Chair Tom Wheeler posted a blog on the Commission’s site saying it would decline to update its good faith retransmission consent negotiation rules.
“Based on the staff’s careful review of the record, it is clear that more rules in this area are not what we need at this point,” Wheeler writes. “So, today I announce that we will not proceed at this time to adopt additional rules governing good faith negotiations for retransmission consent.”
The full post is available here.
The American Cable Association, which represents small- and medium-sized independent operators, responded with a statement stating it is “shocked and appalled that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, who has placed such urgency in reducing consumer confusion in the marketplace, has decided to leave unchanged the retransmission consent regime that a bipartisan Congress asked the agency to review in the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization Act of 2014 (STELAR).”
ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka says in the statement: “To do so in the face of historic numbers of broadcast blackouts and clear signs of market failure and widespread consumer harm is stunning. The chairman’s decision ignores the plight of millions of consumers served by MVPDs who have repeatedly been victimized by broadcasters’ heavy-handed bargaining tactics, such as pulling signals prior to a marquee event like the Oscars or baseball’s All-Star game.”
Polka add that he thinks the decision “will serve no purpose other than to perpetuate and most likely escalate negotiating schemes that will result in consumer harm on a colossal scale by ignoring tangible evidence that the retransmission consent regime is broken, outdated and contributing to the skyrocketing increase in retransmission consent payments and a record number of TV station initiated signal blackouts.”
ACA points to an American Television Alliance (ATVA) analysis, which reports that TV stations have caused 600 blackouts since 2010, and since 2005, retransmission consent fees have risen 22,400 percent. SNL Kagan recently updated its projections to show that total retransmission consent payments will hit $10.29 billion in 2021, up from $7.21 billion in 2016, ACA also noted in a press release.
Filed Under: Industry regulations