Originally published: May 2, 2012
Last updated: May 2, 2012 - 6:33pm
The American Cable Association is urging the Federal Communications Commission to consider two separately owned TV stations from the same market as a single, commonly owned entity under the agency's ownership attribution rules if the two stations opt to coordinate their retransmission consent negotiations with multichannel video programming providers (MVPDs).
"ACA has put evidence in the record showing that scores of local TV stations are coordinating retransmission consent negotiations and the effect is to lessen competition in local broadcasting markets," ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said. "To shield the public from harm arising from reductions in broadcast competition, the FCC should rule that separately owned TV stations in the same market will be considered a single entity if the stations coordinate their retransmission consent negotiations, effectively prohibiting combinations of top four rated stations that are directly forbidden under the existing local television duopoly rule."
In reply comments filed on April 17, ACA stressed the need and appropriateness for the FCC to address ACA's well-documented concerns about coordinated retransmission consent negotiations in connection with the FCC's ongoing quadrennial review of its media ownership rules and policies. Further, ACA noted that the FCC -- charged by law with promoting competition in local broadcast markets -- should not be distracted by broadcasters' perpetual claims that anticompetitive broadcast practices are a matter solely for the antitrust authorities, even though the stations are FCC licensees.
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