For Immediate Release
Contact: Ted Hearn
PITTSBURGH, July 12, 2018 — American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka issued the following statement regarding ACA’s filing today with the Federal Communications Commission responding to Fox Television Stations and Sinclair Broadcast Group about public interest harms associated with the Sinclair-Tribune transaction and associated Sinclair station sales to Fox:
“ACA in its filing made clear to the FCC that Fox’s acquisition of certain Sinclair-Tribune stations will result in harm to the public stemming from higher retransmission consent fees and higher consumer prices. ACA stressed that increased consumer prices are a garden-variety public interest harm against which the FCC must balance public interest benefits — and because Fox did not grapple with this argument, it has not denied that these harms will occur. Because there are undisputed harms and no demonstrated benefits, the record contains no basis upon which the FCC can grant the Fox acquisitions. ACA also pointed out that its concerns about higher retransmission consent fees are unrelated to whether Fox’s acquisition of the Sinclair-Tribune stations will leave Fox in compliance with the 39% national ownership cap.
“ACA noted that Sinclair-Tribune did not address head-on whether it intends to exercise certain so-called ‘after-acquired’ clauses in retransmission consent agreements, which are a contractual mechanism imposed on small video providers that produces automatic increases in retransmission consent fees. ACA is concerned that Sinclair-Tribune will disregard FCC precedent and insist on the validity of these rate-shock clauses for Tribune stations that it is immediately required to divest as a condition of FCC approval. ACA stated that if the FCC does not deny the Sinclair-Tribune transaction outright, it is imperative for the agency to eliminate all doubt by conditioning the transaction on Sinclair’s not exercising its after-acquired clauses with respect to such stations.”
About the American Cable Association: Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing about 800 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/