Dueling Studies: NAB Counters ACA


The National Association of Broadcasters is slamming an Arlen Communications study of small-market and rural cable system retransmission negotiations that concluded stations ought to be paying for carriage and that broadcasters were preventing cable operators from launching new services.

The cable industry has long argued that must-carry, particularly extended to multicast digital channels, will suck up bandwidth that could otherwise be used to deliver advanced services, both known and as-yet undreamed.

NAB sent the Senate Commerce Committee and the FCC its own study of the Arlen study, which it says shows the latter contained "contradictions" and "mischaracterizations."

The original study, prepared by Arlen and released by the American Cable Association (ACA), concluded that because broadcasters' signals were high-value content, they were able to set monopoly prices for carriage that inhibits cable operators' ability to offer programming their subs would prefer or roll out advanced services.

In its response to the study, prepared by BIA Financial Network, NAB asserts that the Arlen study "mischaracterizes the outcomes of retransmission consent negotiations as being something other than the result of negotiations between two parties (local cable systems and television stations) that both are facing increased competition."