PITTSBURGH, July 6, 2012 – American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka issued the following statement in response to the Federal Communications Commission’s Media Bureau ruling that Shenandoah Cable Television Company (Shentel) negotiated retransmission consent in good faith with TV station WJLA, an ABC affiliate in Washington, D.C., owned by Allbritton Communications.
“ACA commends the FCC’s Media Bureau for rejecting Allbritton’s frivolous claims of bad faith directed at rural cable operator Shentel, which had made clear all along that its priority was to shield its customers from paying the 500% retransmission consent fee increase sought by WJLA.
“Although Allbritton’s effort to gouge Shentel customers was unsuccessful, ACA Members around the country know very well that many broadcasters are relying on anticompetitive tactics to boost retransmission consent revenue, especially the well-documented practice of coordinated retransmission consent negotiating by separately owned TV stations serving the same local market.
“The absolutely wrong lesson to draw from Allbritton’s failed regulatory gambit at the FCC is that the 20-year-old retransmission consent regime is serving the public interest. On the contrary, retransmission consent is inspiring TV stations to collude at the bargaining table and rely on strategically timed blackouts to pressure pay-TV providers into paying far more than they should to allow their customers to access ‘free TV.’ ”
About the American Cable Association: Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing about 850 smaller and medium-sized, independent cable companies who provide broadband services for more than 7.4 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/