Originally published: May 20, 2010
Last updated: May 20, 2010 - 11:31pm
Cablevision wants the Federal Communications Commission to require broadcasters to negotiate only cash payments for their signals. That would be a 180-degree turn-around from the early days of retrans, when most cable operators didn't want to pay cash and instead made deals that involved some form of non-cash compensation, often carriage of additional, co-owned cable channels.
Cox Enterprises, which has both major TV station and cable MSO holdings, says the FCC needs to consider adopting a last-ditch, fail-safe, when-all-else-fails system to prevent the kind of retrans stalemates that result in cable subscribers losing wired access to TV stations. Cox also takes aim at the major networks' avowed interest in getting a cut of their affiliates' retrans bucks, and even their participation in their own stations' negotiations when they involve linking on-air and online content.
Sinclair Broadcasting said there were relatively few examples of negotiations "taking place in the public eye," Sinclair having been one of them, and even fewer of those where signals are pulled--less than 1% by Sinclair's reckoning. Sinclair conceded that those interruptions are not good, both costly for broadcasters and "inconvenient" for viewers. But it was not ready to take the fall for pulling the signals when a contract has expired.
Verizon took a targeted approach to asking the FCC for changes to the retransmission consent regime. In its comments to the FCC on a petition it co-sponsored along with satellite companies and cable operators large and small, it said, ideally, the commission would get rid of rules like network nonduplication and syndicated exclusivity that prevent it from negotiating with out-of-market TV station operators. But rather than push those points, it said the FCC should at the very least require a standstill agreement that keeps signals from being pulled so long as both sides are bargaining in good faith.
Cablevision Proposes Cash and Carry Retrans Regime (B&C - Cablevision)
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