Broadcasters LOL at MVPD 'Ransom' Campaign

Say hidden fees and expensive sports, not TV signals, are the big costs

Broadcasters fired back Wednesday (Oct. 4) at an American Cable Association "Ransom TV" campaign blaming broadcasters for retrans blackouts and escalating retrans fees.

That came in a blog post on the website, a consortium of broadcasters trying to preserve the retransmission consent regime that ACA, both individually and as part of the American Television Alliance (ATVA), wants the government to revisit and reform.

"ACA and ATVA are correct: a ransom is being demanded in the pay-tv market, but it’s not coming from broadcasters. It’s the King’s Ransom demanded by pay-TV companies every time a customer opens a monthly bill," said TVFreedom. "Start with $20 set top box fees, then add the oft-hidden fees for DVRs, second remotes, and other equipment. Include the double-digit monthly Regional Sports Network fees – for programs that many viewers never watch. Don’t forget the unannounced price increases at double the rate of inflation and harassing telemarketing calls either. And do pay-TV companies offer rebates to customers constantly subjected to blackouts caused by passing rainstorms? Not a chance."

Related: ACA to Pai: Blackouts Are Bad-Faith Bargaining Tactics

To read the entire statement, go here.

ACA and ATVA are pressing the issue as broadcasters and MVPDs start renegotiating carriage agreements that are expiring toward the end of the year. MVPDs say broadcasters are using undue leverage provided by the government to extract excessive fees, fees that hit their customers in the pocket books or lead to blackouts when deals can't be struck.

Broadcasters counter that they are only now starting to get the real value of their must-have signals in what they argue is a fair marketplace negotiation.


Editorial: MVPD,Or Not MVPD?

Washington now appears to be catching up with technology, a chase it likely can’t win unless it starts aiming a little more ahead of the curve