The American Cable Association Tuesday applauded Sen. Jay
Rockefeller (D-Va.) for requesting the GAO to study the impact on TV station
shared service agreements and joint sales agreements on the media marketplace.
In the request, Rockefeller cited
many of the concerns small cable operators have registered with the FCC and
others about the agreements.
"ACA welcomes a report that examines the widespread and
increasing practice of separately owned broadcasters on the local level
coordinating their sale of retransmission consent," said ACA president
Matt Polka in a statement. "This behavior increases broadcasters'
bargaining power over ACA Members in their negotiations and drives up the cost
of carriage fees for millions of consumers.
Polka says ACA can provide GAO with evidence that "Big Four"
affiliates are "colluding" on retrans to deny consumers competitive
"We are optimistic that in response to Sen.
Rockefeller's request, the GAO will validate ACA's claims that broadcast
stations are engaging in widespread anti-competitive coordination designed to
extract excessive retransmission consent compensation from pay-TV providers as
compared to broadcasters that negotiate individually," he said.