ATVA: LIN/Dish Stand-Off Illustrates Need For Reform
Retrans reform group says scales need to be better balanced
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 3/6/2011 8:43:18 AM
The American Television Alliance, which comprises cable nets, satellite companies (including Dish) telcos, and others, used the opportunity of the LIN/Dish signal blackout to push for retrans reform.
LIN Media and Dish Network failed to reach a retransmission consent deal as of midnight March 4, following a four-day extension from the original March 1 deadline. That meant that more than two dozen LIN stations have gone dark for Dish subscribers.
"This comes less than 48 hours after the FCC approved initiation of a rulemaking "to protect consumers from the disruptive impact" of broadcaster blackouts. These bullying tactics will continue until the FCC reforms outdated rules and balances the scales that today give broadcasters numerous advantages," ATVA said in a statement.
The FCC last week voted unanimously to propose a number of changes to clarify what constitutes good faith negotiations in an effort to reduce viewer dislocations. It did not propose mandating carriage during impasses or imposing outside arbitration, both of which ATVA had asked for in the petition that helped prompt the FCC's action.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski referenced the LIN/Dish dispute to illustrate why the FCC was taking action. "Retransmission consent negotiations have become more contentious recently, and consumers have gotten caught in the middle," he said at the FCC's open meeting last week. "Last fall, millions of cable subscribers lost access to baseball playoff and World Series games, and many other viewers have been blindsided by less publicized disputes. Even as we vote this item, there's a looming retransmission consent impasse between a nationwide satellite TV provider and a large broadcast group with major network affiliates."
Broadcasters argue the vast majority of retrans deals are done quietly and without incident, and that retrans is a marketplace negotiation that needs no government thumb on the scale. Cable operators counter that the FCC has already intruded by mandating carriage for stations that elect not to negotiate (must-carry), and by imposing regs like the syndicated exclusivity and network nonduplication rules that prevent cable operators from seeking competitive signals as an alternative. The FCC has proposed eliminating those rules, which broadcasters strongly oppose.
Its always the little man that gets hurt. They broke my contract and Iam tired of this crap. Going back to the open air.Its free screw them all. Plus I wont buy from any adds on cbs. So I get my revenge my way.
Ronald E. Waldmann - 3/7/2011 4:30:38 PM EST
As a Dish customer and a Lin affiliate viewer, this has just forced me to do what I should have done long ago........ I pay over $900 / yr. for programming and this garbage continues, so........ After equipment costs ( antenna, cables, et.) and new Netflix and Hulu subscriptions, as well as other web based sources, my annual programming costs will drop by over $500 THE FIRST YEAR ! Will I be able to see everything I can now ? No, but I'll be paying for what I WANT to see, and feeling much better about myself.......
Michael Foley - 3/7/2011 10:00:11 AM EST
This may be a blessing in disguise. For those who have contracts with DISH but are either tired of the disruptions or their questionable business tactics this is a way out. DISH has clearly violated their agreement with the end customer therefore breaching the contract. It only seems proper that those who have lost programming they have agreed to should be able to opt out of their contracts without penalty.
Ron Dudelston - 3/6/2011 7:48:37 PM EST
"The American Television Alliance, which comprises cable nets, satellite companies (including DISH) telcos, and others, useed the opportunity of the LIN/DISH disck signal blackout to push for retrans reform."
Hmmm,....this is coming from the only players in the game who are making any real money?
Ken English - 3/6/2011 11:04:32 AM EST
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