NAB to FCC: Keep Retransmission Review Fair

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David Barrett of Hearst Television, Chris Cornelius of Barrington Broadcasting and Marci Burdick of Schurz Communications spoke with Federal Communications Commissioner Robert McDowell saying that the planned review of the rules governing retransmission consent should be “fair and balanced” and should not assume the current process for negotiating rates is “broken.”

On behalf of the National Association of broadcasters, the group offered suggestions for a FCC proceeding on retransmission policy:

  • What is the impact of early termination fees on subscribers’ ability to switch to over-the-air TV or other pay services during retrans disputes?
  • Should subscribers be entitled to a credit if broadcast channels are removed from the cable or satellite lineup?
  • Should the rules be modified to control cable and satellite rates?
  • Should rules requiring notification of subscribers of change of service be modified?
  • How does a cable or satellite operator’s share of total pay TV homes at the local, regional and national levels impact bargaining power in retrans negotiations?
  • How does vertical integration — cable systems owning networks — impact retrans negotiations?
  • Does less compensation for carriage of broadcast signals translate into higher fees for cable’s vertically integrated networks?
  • How are the FCC nonduplication and syndicated exclusivity rules different from the exclusive rights or other arrangement enjoyed by other programmers (e.g., DirecTV’s Sunday Ticket)?
  • Would requiring cable operators to file data on their ownership, point of contact, operation and coverage promote efficient retrans negotiations?

NAB to FCC: Keep Retransmission Review Fair