American Cable Association President Steve Friedman took to the Seattle Times op-ed page Monday (Feb. 22) to argue for FCC review of the retransmission consent rules.
"When people see their cable bills going up and up, they deserve an explanation," he wrote, then proceeded to argue that broadcasters get regulatory preferences, including network exclusivity rules that prevent smaller cable operators from negotiating with stations in neighboring markets if they can't strike a deal with an in-market affiliate.
He also argues against must-carry rules, saying that the FCC is "inflating cable bills by creating artificial demand for TV station content through the enforcement of antiquated buy-through mandates."
He argues that unless the government steps in to "fix" the process, cable rates will continue to rise.
Friedman said that he has to accept the broadcaster price increases because his viewers can go to the competition if they can't get the broadcast programming they want.
Broadcasters argue that is just the reason they are asking more for their signals, because those are the ones that viewers want but that have historically not drawn the kind of per-sub fees as cable nets with less viewership.