Small Cable Ops to FCC: Attention Must Be Paid
Says video competition report should drill down into closures of smaller systems
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 9/12/2012 8:35:42 PM
In comments on the FCC's next video competition report, the American Cable Association has asked the FCC to do a more "granular" analysis on the increase in small cable operators who have had to close their doors.
"The FCC has data showing that the number of cable systems has significantly decreased over the past five years," said ACA President/CEO Matt Polka. "ACA believes that this trend reveals significant problems in the market for the delivery of video programming, particularly for smaller multichannel video programming distributors serving smaller markets and rural areas," said Polka.
The FCC data, says ACA, shows that since October 2005, the number of cable systems has declined 26% from 7,208 to 5,312), and that for the smallest systems -- those under 10,000 subs -- that percentage drop is even greater.
According to National Cable Television Cooperative data, says ACA, over the past five years, 793 small and rural cable system members serving a total of more than 35,000 customers have closed, most because they ceased service rather than, say, consolidating operations.
Together, says ACA, the numbers add up to a decrease in smaller cable operators that the FCC should break out from its report on the overall decrease in systems, saying it could be a an early warning sign, the canary in the headend, as it were, of problems for larger systems.
Polka also says that no FCC video competition report will be complete without "all available data and information pertaining to the practice of coordinated retransmission consent negotiations by non-commonly owned TV stations operating in the same market."
A lot of the issues faced by small cable operators is due to all the programming requirements that we have to meet and because we are so small we pay 4 to 5 times as much as other systems. Our revenue collected from the catv customer covers only our programming expesne and leaves no money left to pay employees or improve facilities.
Roxanne White - 9/13/2012 11:46:03 AM EDT
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