American Cable Association President Makes the Case for Chang
PITTSBURGH, March 17, 2008 – Speaking yesterday at the North Central Cable Show (NCCS) in Minneapolis, MN, American Cable Association (ACA) President and CEO Matthew M. Polka outlined the threats facing cable operators and consumers because of current retransmission consent rules and the need for the cable industry to collectively seek to change these rules. Addressing an audience of cable operators serving communities throughout the Midwest, Polka’s presentation focused on skyrocketing retransmission fees, rising cable costs, and the need for immediate FCC or congressional action.
Earnings reported for 2007 include an increase of more than $54 million in retransmission fees for Nexstar (26%), Hearst-Argyle (21%), LIN (107%), Belo (17.25%), and Sinclair (133%) — increases disproportionally levied against small and independent cable providers, but nonetheless affecting consumers and cable operators nationwide.
“Our industry is at a crossroads,” Polka said. “Retransmission consent is a government-created rule that must be changed by government for the sake of our customers; we are at the mercy of the broadcast industry that benefits from government-sanctioned advantage. Fees are up more than 20% in the past year alone, and cable operators and their customers are paying the price.
“Your business hangs in the balance, “added Polka.” Change will only come about if the cable industry collectively works together to reform retransmission consent.”
In a January 4th filing with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), (available here) the American Cable Association (ACA) urged the FCC to adopt news rules that would allow small and medium-sized cable operators the flexibility to provide consumers with more choices and better value. ACA’s comments included evidence of significant harm to the public interest in markets served by small and medium-sized cable providers through reduced programming choice, higher prices for consumers, reduced video competition, and impeded broadband deployment. The comments were submitted as part of a Commission review of retransmission consent and programming tying arrangements.
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About the American Cable Association
Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing 1,100 smaller and medium-sized, independent cable companies who provide broadband services for more than 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 www.americancable.org.