American Cable Association (ACA) President and CEO Matthew M. Polka issued the following statement regarding the hearing, “Competition in the Sports Programming Marketplace,” to be held by the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet on Wednesday, March 5, 2008.
“ACA commends the Subcommittee for holding a hearing on an issue of great concern to cable viewers, and urges the Subcommittee to pursue solutions that will provide consumers with greater options and better value. Under the current model, sports programmers with market power insist upon some of the highest fees in the industry, like the NFL Network, Fox Sports regional networks, and others, and offer small, independent cable operators ‘take it or leave it’ deals that fail to reflect consumer demand. This situation, where many channels are forced onto basic cable and, thus forced into people’s bills, needs to be addressed. Furthermore, it runs contrary to the public interest when programmers, like NBC Universal, use their market power to force operators to carry expensive sports programming, like their Olympics package, and other less desired channels in exchange for desired programming, such as NBC. When sports programmers offer their content at reasonable, prices, terms and conditions, and allow operators to offer sports programming to consumers on separate tiers to those who really want the content, consumers will be the winners of the game.”
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About the American Cable Association
Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a national association of small, locally-based cable TV companies providing advanced broadband services primarily in rural markets. The Association represents smaller and medium-sized independent cable businesses through active participation in the regulatory and legislative process in Washington, D.C. ACA’s nearly 1,100 member companies serve more than 7 million subscribers in all 50 states. For more information, visit www.americancable.org.