Editorial: Gold Standards

Light hand is best approach in retrans impasses
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The FCC’S retransmission consent docket is filled with vitriol, attacks by broadcasters against multichannel video programming distributors, and those MVPDs against broadcasters, but all with entangling alliances that make it seem more like a civil war.

For example, Comcast is the largest member of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association. But affiliates of its co-owned NBC network are on the other side of NCTA on whether the FCC should step into the retrans fight, as is its co-owned Universal studio. In fact, a half-dozen NCTA studio members oppose NCTA’s call for FCC intervention.

Amid that internecine warfare, the Writers Guild of America West made a point we’d like to echo.

The Guild represents the writers who have helped create the content—from Grey’s Anatomy to Empire to The Big Bang Theory—that has fueled what WGAW calls a new golden age in TV.

Broadcasters are getting more of MVPDs’ gold from that new golden age through tough bargaining with equally tough bargainers, WGAW said.

The FCC has tended toward a light hand when it comes to retrans impasses. Absent a tidal wave of blackouts and major viewer dislocation, that is the best approach going forward.

The FCC’S retransmission consent docket is filled with vitriol, attacks by broadcasters against multichannel video programming distributors, and those MVPDs against broadcasters, but all with entangling alliances that make it seem more like a civil war.

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