A Hallmark Moment for FCC’s Tate

Federal Communications Commission Member Deborah Taylor Tate Praises Comcast-Hallmark Channel Agreement

Federal Communications Commission member Deborah Taylor Tate gave a shout-out to Hallmark Channel and Comcast Thursday for coming to a meeting of the minds on a price for carriage of the top-10 cable network.

Hallmark has been seeking help from Washington in its negotiations with cable operators as it tries to boost its per-subscriber price to match its growing ratings strength and argues that powerful cable operators have been unwilling to give full value to the channel.

A Hallmark spokeswoman would not comment on the price, but it won't be hard to figure once it releases its next financial figures.

FCC chairman Kevin Martin was even looking to provide some of that help to Hallmark -- and NFL Network -- in the form of an arbitration scheme for stalled negotiations, according to a top FCC source, but that item ultimately did not make it onto the agenda of its public meeting this week.

Tate took the opportunity to put in a plug for marketplace solutions over such government intervention.

"Family audiences are the real winners in [the] agreement between Comcast and the Hallmark Channel," she said, adding a plug for Hallmark with the observation that it was "last week’s fourth-highest-rated primetime network."

She added, "The Hallmark Channel, with its award-winning original movies and much-loved classics -- all G-rated -- again proves that American families want this type of uplifting programming and that the marketplace is responding without government intervention."