NAB on Retrans: It Ain't Broke

Warns FCC against micromanaging retransmission consent negotiations

The National Association of Broadcasters warns the
FCC against micromanaging retransmission consent negotiations and ticks off the
things it thinks would be doing just that.

In its comments in the FCC's retrans rule review -- due
May 27 at the commission -- NAB says that "substantial and numerous
changes," which have been sought by cable and satellite operators, are
unwarranted.

NAB supports expanding notification of potential
signal-drops to non-cable MVPDs and making sure that early termination fees are
not an obstacle to switching service in the "very rare" instances in
which impasses affect their access to TV programming.

But aside from that, NAB says retrans ain't broke and
doesn't need fixing. Its list of unnecessary and harmful changes include 1)
prohibitions on joint negotiations; 2) government-mandate mediation; 3) define
good faith bargaining in terms of fees, terms or conditions of deals; 4)
scrapping the syndicated exclusivity and network no duplication rules; 5)
adding violations of good faith bargaining to the factors considered at license
renewal time.

The FCC has proposed getting more specific on the
definition of good faith bargaining, and has proposed scrapping those two
rules. Various cable  operators argue
that the FCC needs to step in to break up joint bargaining, untie retrans deals
from co-owned cable channels, make stations make their prices public, and much
more.