Cablevision Makes Its Case for Retrans Reform - Broadcasting & Cable

Cablevision Makes Its Case for Retrans Reform

Three principal fixes listed in comments of FCC's review
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Cablevision has laid out its three keys to retransmission
consent reform.

In comments on the FCC's review of the retrans regime,
due May 27, Cablevision said the three principal fixes need to be:

1) Prevent the tying of TV station carriage with co-owned
cable nets. It argues that the practice has raised consumer prices by bundling
must-have programming with "limited interest" offerings.

2) Require broadcasters to publicize their price for TV
station carriage.

3) Prevent "discrimination" in price based on
the size of an operator or satellite provider.

It also wants the commission to prevent stations not
jointly owned from jointly negotiation retrans, eliminate the syndicated
exclusivity and network nonduplication rules -- the FCC proposed eliminating
those rules in its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking; and not to increase viewer
notification requirements, which it says would "encourage broadcaster
brinkmanship, confuse consumers, cause MVPDs to be more vulnerable to
unreasonable retransmission consent demands, and so result in higher rates for
MVPD subscribers."

Cablevision is a member of the American Television
Alliance, whose petition helped prompt the FCC to propose tweaking its retrans
rules, including clarifying what qualifies as "good faith" retrans
negotiations.

Also driving the FCC review were legislators concerned
about high-profile signal blackouts last year that threatened big ticket sports
broadcasts like college Bowl Games and the World Series.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has said the FCC is not
interested in getting in the middle of private negotiations, and that the FCC's
authority over retrans is limited. But Cablevision argues that its proposals
are "plainly within the FCC's statutory authority."

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