NAB 2010: Genachowski Concerned About Retrans Affect on Cable Prices, Program Interruptions

Chairman says he favors marketplace but thinks process may need review
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NAB Show 2010: Complete Coverage From B&C

FCC Chairman Juilus Genachowski said Tuesday (Apr. 13) that
he favored the marketplace over the government in retrans negotiations, but
said he still thought their were "legitimate questions" about whether
the process needed review.

His focus, he suggested, is on the consumers who are
impacted by retrans impasses. "I agree that the market is the preferred
method to determine broadcast-cable arrangements. At the same time, these
commercial negotiations between broadcasters and multichannel video providers
affect third parties who aren't at the table."

He said he was concerned about the effect on cable rates of
broadcasters getting cash for their programming, as well as the "program
interruptions."

"There are legitimate questions about whether to update
the 20-year-old framework for retransmission consent and must carry," he
said. "As we move forward, I'll be focused on making sure we have a
framework that is fair to consumers, as well as each of the businesses
involved."

The FCC has opened an inquiry into the retransmission
consent regime, prompted in part by congressional criticism of retrans and
recent impasses that threatened college bowl games and the Oscars.

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