The American Cable Association characterizes gains in retransmission consent revenue reported by TV station groups as ranging from “truly excessive to borderline obscene.” However, the group says that while it wants to find a “solution,” it won’t push for congressional action this year.
The American Cable Association Thursday claims that the first-quarter financial results of several TV station groups included “excessively large retransmission consent gains for several local TV station groups, further bolstering the American Cable Association’s contention that the retransmission consent process is broken.” The results, it continued, “ranged from truly excessive to borderline obscene.”
“Congress expressed its desire not to address retransmission consent as part of this year’s Satellite Home Viewer Act (SHVA) reauthorization, and ACA will respect that wish and not push for Congressional action in 2009. However, long term ACA remains committed to finding a solution to this problem,” Matthew M. Polka, ACA president-CEO said.
“When cable customers want to know why their bills keep going up, all they need to do is look at how TV stations exploit retransmission consent to squeeze every penny they can from pay-TV providers, especially ACA’s small, independent cable companies,” Polka said. “Not only do these excessive carriage fees drive up the cost of subscription TV, but small cable operators then have less money to invest in their networks to deliver more channels in HD, faster broadband Internet speeds and advanced phone services with multiple low-cost features.”
Leading the pack, ACA said, was Journal Communications Inc., “which reported a whopping 333.3% gain in retransmission consent revenue, bringing the total to $1.3 million.
“Next was Hearst-Argyle Television Inc., with a rise of 97.8%, to $12.4 million.
“LIN TV Corp. followed with an increase of 82%, to $8.9 million.
“Belo Corp. was up 10%, to $9.7 million, and Sinclair Broadcast Group reported a 7.5% increase, to $21.1 million.”
For many years, ACA has urged Congress to review the impact of retransmission consent rules and regulations on cable consumers as “TV stations steadily increased their cash demands on small cable companies.” With a strong focus on ensuring its members have access to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s $7.2 billion in grants and loans to improve nationwide broadband deployment, the ACA has been monitoring the retransmission consent issue this year.