American Cable Association Changes Name

The group is now ACA — America’s Communications Association, branded as ACA Connects. CEO Matthew Polka: “With this name change, we’re recognizing that communication is the priority, not the medium.”

ACA’s Polka Slams Nexstar Over Retrans Tactic

American Cable Association President Matt Polka has taken issue with Nexstar’s online effort to sell the importance of its signals to local government and the impact of their absence from Antietam Broadband, with which it is currently at a retrans impasse.

ACA To FCC: Make Sinclair Renew Licenses Early

The group says that in light of the commission raising questions over the group owner’s fitness to be a licensee following the failed Tribune merger, the FCC needs to “resolve the serious charges it leveled against Sinclair as soon as possible.”

ACA: DOJ Must Narrow Disney’s Fox RSN Spinoffs

The American Cable Association has a problem with how the Justice Department resolved its antitrust issues with Disney’s purchase of Twenty-First Century Fox assets, including, at least temporarily, its 20 regional sports networks, Prime Ticket and the YES network.

ACA Renews Its Board Leadership

ACA To FCC: Strengthen Program Access

The cable group says the commission should make changes to the 2011 Comcast-NBCU deal in light of the Justice Department’s concerns over AT&T-Time Warner.

ACA To Monitor 3.0 Terms Of Retrans Deals

The trade group told the FCC that “should broadcasters insist on ATSC 3.0 carriage in their negotiations with ACA members … we will not hesitate to present these facts to the commission in a petition for reconsideration.”

 

ACA Campaign Blasts Broadcasters’ Retrans Record

The American Cable Association today launched TV Ransom, a national campaign to “set the record straight that corporate broadcasters are to blame for out-of-control retransmission consent fees and TV station blackouts that blindside consumers with the needless loss of their favorite news, weather reports, and national sporting and entertainment events.” Across the country hundreds of local […]

ACA: No Retrans Blackouts During Disasters

The cable group wants the FCC to add to its list of prohibited “bad faith” retrans negotiation actions a broadcaster’s failure to provide an MVPD with authorization to retransmit its signals, or an MVPD’s refusal to retransmit such signals, during emergency situations.

Fears Of Sinclair-Tribune ‘Excessive’ Power

A coalition of TV and media industry entities is urging the FCC to reject Sinclair Broadcast Group’s proposed $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media, arguing that the combination would “produce a TV station behemoth that is unprecedented in both local and national size and power.”

Court Affirms FCC Cable Rate Deregulation

By affirming a 2015 FCC ruling, the federal appeals court in Washington will make it easier for cable operators to avoid regulation of their basic tiers containing broadcast signals. With competition from satellite and streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, says ACA’s Matt Polka in lauding the decision, “there is no longer any good reason that cable operators should remain subject to burdensome rate regulation.” The court ruling is also seen as a setback for broadcasters, who had joined regulators in challenging the FCC action.

ACA Pushes For Cable-Satellite Fee Parity

The American Cable Association renewed its campaign to get the FCC to charge satellite TV companies Dish Network and DirecTV the same regulatory fees that it charges cable and IPTV operators. In comments sent to the FCC, ACA notes that the agency’s latest notice of proposed rulemaking proposes a 96-cent-per-subscriber fee on cable and telco operators in fiscal 2017, but only a 38-cent-per-sub fee for DBS providers.

Pai Buries Hatchet With Indie Cable Operators

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai called cable operators’ mission to build digital infrastructure “the challenge of our time” in a keynote appearance on Thursday’s closing day of the American Cable Association’s annual summit in Washington. “We don’t view you as an enemy,” Pai declared, “but rather someone we can work with to better enable our citizens to take advantage of digital opportunity.”

Robert Gessner Re-Elected ACA Chairman

Boycom’s Patricia Jo Boyers is also re-elected as the cable trade association’s vice chairwoman.

 

ACA To FCC: Deny Nexstar-Media Gen. Merger

The American Cable Association says the $4.6 billion deal will give Nexstar 115 Big Four affiliates in 101 markets and undue leverage in retrans negotiations. With the leverage, Nexstar would “drive up…fees (and, in turn, consumer prices) and…increase the risk and incidence of broadcast programming blackouts.” As an alternative to denial, ACA suggests forcing Nexstar into “baseball-style arbitration” or preventing its use of “after-acquired station” clauses.

On Tap At ACA Summit: Streaming, Bundles

The American Cable Association’s 23rd Summit on March 2 will feature a panel of experts to discuss what the shifting video landscape means for the independent cable community and consumers.

RETRANS

ACA: Retrans ‘Good Faith’ Needs Overhaul

The cable trade group tells the FCC that in the nearly five years since the commission began looking to reform its retransmission consent rules, “two retransmission consent election cycles have come and gone, consumers have experienced 558 blackouts, prices have risen about 40% each year and demands for carriage of other and often unwanted programming have increased. The time for decisive and muscular commission action has arrived.”

FCC Launches Retrans Reform Proceeding

In opening a proceeding to review what it means for broadcasters and MVPDs to negotiate retrans deals in good faith, the FCC says its goal is to “benefit consumers of video programming service by facilitating successful negotiations and avoiding disruptions in service.”

OPEN MIKE BY MATTHEW POLKA

TV Stations Flip-Flop On Consumer Choice

American Cable Association President Matthew Polka: “The arrival of CBS All Access means at least two positive developments: The forces in favor of consumer choice have won the debate and critics like TVFreedom need to find a new agenda because it is impossible for broadcasters to explain how it’s possible to be ‘just a little a la carte.’ “

Rep. Eshoo Calls Retrans Fees ‘A Racket’

Rep. Anna G. Eshoo, tells the American Cable Association’s annual Summit that cable retransmission consent payments to broadcasters ‘is serious money. Most frankly, I think it’s a racket” and says such fees and blackouts that come from their negotiotions constitute an “unsustainable business model.”

Wheeler To Speak At ACA Washington Summit

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler will speak at the American Cable Association’s Washington Summit on Wednesday, April 2, to share his ideas and outlook for U.S. communications policy in the coming years in a question-and-answer session with ACA President-CEO Matt Polka. This year’s 21st annual ACA Summit will take place April 1-3 at the Grand Hyatt, […]

ACA: Fighting Retrans For 10 Years

The Pittsburgh-based American Cable Association has been dogged in attacking joint sales and shared services agreements that some broadcasters use to operate more stations in a market than they may own under the FCC’s local ownership limits.

ACA Backs Rockefeller’s FCC SSA Push

The cable trade group tells FCC Chairman Wheeler that the commission should review all station sales in which licensees have or plan to enter into coordination agreements such as shared services agreements to avoid violating the commission’s media ownership rule.

DMA 157

TWC, ACA Fighting Mission’s Binghamton Buy

The cable operator and trade group ask the FCC to reject Mission’s $15.25 million purchase of Stainless Broadcasting’s two Binghamton, N.Y., stations, claiming that Nexstar Broadcasting will end up with “de facto control over three of the Big Four broadcast signals and four of the six national broadcast network affiliates” in the market.

ACA Fighting Sinclair’s New Age Buy

The cable group tells the FCC that the $90 million purchase of eight stations uses joint sales agreements to sidestep FCC ownership regulations that bar ownership of two of the top four rated TV stations in a market.

RETRANS

ACA Attacks Sinclair’s Allbritton Purchase

The American Cable Association tells the FCC that the proposed purchase of seven stations will mean Sinclair will be able to negotiate retransmission consent deals for multiple stations in both Harrisburg, Pa., and Charleston, S.C.

RETRANS

Cable Group Asks FCC To Stop Blackouts

The American Cable Association calls on FCC to let operators continue carrying broadcast stations during contract fights. A cable or satellite operator would pay rates under the previous contract, with a retroactive “true-up” once a new deal is signed.

ACA SUMMIT

Pai: Retrans Relief Must Come From Hill

The FCC commissioner tells the American Cable Association’s Summit in Washington that he understood programming blackouts that sometimes accompany retrans negotiations “aggravate consumers. We don’t have the ability to dictate the outcome or to some extent the process of retransmission consent negotiations.” The group has meetings on the Hill and at the FCC on tap for Thursday.

TV, Film Launch Violence Info Campaign

A multimedia public service effort is designed to raise parental awareness of TV and film ratings, parental controls, media literacy and mental health issues.

ACA To FCC: End Joint Retrans Bargaining

The cable trade group says evidence demonstrates broadcasters’ anticompetitive conduct reduces competition in local markets.

ACA: HD Must-Carry Exemption Should Stay

Continued extension of the small cable operator exception to the rule requiring carriage of high-def much-carry channels is needed more now than when it was adopted in 2008, the trade group says.

ACA Chair Wants Retrans Rules Modernized

At the opening of the American Cable Association’s Washington Summit, Chairwoman Colleen Abdoulah also says escalating sports programming costs must be addressed.

TVNEWSCHECK FOCUS ON WASHINGTON

Advocacy Groups, Cable Target Virtual Duops

In comments to the FCC, a coalition of advocacy groups long opposed to media consolidation and cable operators say shared services agreements and other contractual deals that stop short of ownership, but let broadcasters operate two or even three stations in a market, need to be eliminated. These virtual duopolies, they say, reduce competition and news coverage while giving stations an unfair advantage in retrans negotiations with cable operators.

OPEN MIKE BY MATTHEW POLKA

Super Bowl Spoiler: NFL TV Deals Blitz Public

I am quite troubled by the soaring price of monthly cable and satellite TV bills fueled by hyperinflationary increases in TV rights fees won by the NFL and many other sports organizations. Non-sports pay TV subscribers are massively subsidizing sports viewers by an estimated $3 billion annually. A sports tier designed to reflect actual consumer demand for NFL games, golf tournaments, and baseball doubleheaders has the potential to allocate programming expenses more fairly within the pay TV universe.

ACA Wants Retrans Deal Info In Public Files

The American Cable Association says the FCC should require inclusion in station public files “all agreements between separately owned TV stations in the same market, particularly those that facilitate the coordination of retransmission consent negotiations.”

Polka Throws Penalty Flag Over NFL Deals

American Cable Association President Matthew Polka says “If CBS, NBC and Fox want to risk billions in their dealings with the NFL, that’s their business. But broadcasters should not be able to rely on the government’s broken retransmission consent and cable carriage rules as the means for them to recoup the cost of their corpulent NFL contracts.”

ACA Blasts Raycom-Belo Tucson SSA

The cable trade association says consumers typically pay higher retransmission consent fees while receiving diminished local news services under such deals.

Stations Target Of Consolidation Complaint

A strange-bedfellows coalition of Dish Network; Time Warner Cable; activist group Free Press; the Newspaper Guild; and the American Cable Association which represents small and mid-sized operators have sent a letter to the FCC. They’re united by a concern about TV stations that “cannot lawfully merge under the FCC’s local television rules (but) are nonetheless consolidating their core operations, staff and news production.”

Small Cable MSOs Want Loudness Exemption

The American Cable Association is asking the FCC for a one-year exemption from having to comply with a law enacted in December that would lower the volume on all those loud TV ads that irritate so many viewers.

ACA Wants Voluntary Network Outage Rules

The cable trade group says that since the FCC lacks the authority to impose outage requirements on broadband providers, the commission should “endorse the establishment of an industry working group” to create voluntary rules.