Originally published: November 4, 2010
Last updated: November 4, 2010 - 8:54pm
Nothing official yet, but the Senate Commerce Committee's Communications subcommittee will hold a hearing on the rules for television retransmission negotiations that have at times left viewers without access to certain TV channels. Look for it to be scheduled Nov. 17.
The federal rules that govern talks between broadcasters and pay-TV providers gained extra scrutiny in October after a long standoff between Fox Networks and Cablevision. The dispute centered on how much Cablevision must pay Fox when it uses its programming.
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), the Communications subcommittee chairman, said he would continue pushing for an update to the rules even after the Fox-Cablevision dispute was resolved. He drafted legislation that would make it more difficult for broadcasters to pull their content, although they would still maintain this negotiating option. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has also said the rules could use another look. Broadcasters argue the rules do not need an update because blackouts are rare and because they deserve a chance to negotiate a fair price for their content. They make the appeal that the government should not be involved with talks between private companies.
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