PITTSBURGH, September 2, 2015 – American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka issued the following statement regarding today’s release of the Federal Communication Commission’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) designed to review the “totality of the circumstances test” for evaluating whether broadcast stations and multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) are negotiating for retransmission consent in good faith:
“ACA applauds the FCC’s decision to review key features of the retransmission consent regime as Congress intended in the STELA Reauthorization Act of 2014. As ACA plans to document in this proceeding, TV stations around the country have not been bargaining in good faith, staging one blackout after blackout another, often just before the start of marquee sporting or entertainment broadcasts.
“Recent TV station blackouts include DirecTV’s sudden loss of a NFL exhibition game carried by the CBS affiliate in San Diego just two hours prior to kickoff; Media General’s 14-market blackout of Mediacom just prior to July’s MLB All-Star game; and Sinclair’s recording-setting 129-station blackout of Dish Network, which took FCC intervention to resolve last week.
“In the end, ACA hopes the FCC will establish vigorous policies designed to stop TV station misconduct, including sudden TV signal blackouts as well as blocking MVPDs’ broadband subscribers from accessing otherwise free online content during or after a negotiating impasse. The FCC also ought to require broadcasters to provide information substantiating their reasons for bargaining positions taken when requested to in the course of its negotiations, and bring a halt to the practice of TV stations insisting on setting prices, terms, or conditions for broadcast stations they may later acquire or for programming networks they may launch in the future as part of current retransmission consent negotiations.”
About the American Cable Association: Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing nearly 850 smaller and medium-sized, independent cable companies who provide broadband services for nearly 7 million cable subscribers primarily located in rural and smaller suburban markets across America. Through active participation in the regulatory and legislative process in Washington, D.C., ACA’s members work together to advance the interests of their customers and ensure the future competitiveness and viability of their business. For more information, visit https://acaconnects.org/