For Immediate Release
Contact: Ted Hearn
PITTSBURGH, December 4, 2018 — American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka issued the following statement regarding Nexstar Media Group’s proposed $6.4 billion acquisition of Tribune Media’s 42 TV stations:
“ACA believes the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice should examine the proposed Nexstar-Tribune transaction closely. Regulators should ensure that the proposed massive combination cannot use its clout – 216 stations in 118 markets reaching 72% of all U.S. households – to wreak havoc during the negotiation of retransmission consent contracts with multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs). Absent remedial action, such as divestitures or strong conditions, the merger should be denied because it would cause particular harm to the smaller MVPDs that are routinely targeted for payments far in excess of the prevailing fees paid by larger ones. And the harms will be even greater in the fifteen markets in which Nexstar and Tribune stations overlap.
“At least as it now stands, the proposed transaction will lead to more signal blackouts and higher cable bills as a result of price gouging by Nexstar. Nexstar is already boasting about picking up an easy $75 million stemming from the replacement of Tribune’s lower fees with its higher ones. At a minimum, divestitures and conditions will be necessary to address these problems.”
“Nexstar has a long history of using its dominant market position to impose punishing retransmission consent fee increases on smaller MVPDs. And if Nexstar can’t get its fee hike, it will resort to signal blackouts timed to maximize viewer inconvenience, such as prior to national holidays or marquee sporting and entertainment events.”
About the American Cable Association: Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing more than 700 smaller and medium-sized, independent companies that provide broadband, phone and video services to nearly 8 million customers 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/