Liberty Puerto Rico and NBCUniversal Media said they reached an agreement that ends a weekend blackout of the local Telemundo station and 13 cable channels. The two companies said they were able to reach “a reasonable commercial agreement” that will return the NBCU content to Liberty customers on the island.
NBCUniversal has begun warning viewers in Puerto Rico that subscribers of Liberty Cablevision might lose access to the local Telemundo station and NBC’s cable networks at 6 p.m. ET Thursday.
Broadcasters and satellite operators are at odds over who would be burdening whom under a new carriage election proposal the FCC is considering. The NAB and NCTA have joined in proposing changes to the carriage election — must carry or retrans — process, which the FCC is looking to streamline as part of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s deregulatory weed-whacking initiative.
After negotiating throughout the weekend, AT&T and Viacom announced Monday morning that they had reached an agreement to renew their carriage agreement. Details of the deal were not immediately available.
DOJ antitrust chief Makan Delrahim slots the event for May 2-3 and says the event may result in Justice changing how it looks not only at mergers, but also at spot advertising and retrans.
NCTA-The Internet & Television Association said the FCC will need to put conditions on the merger of Nexstar and Tribune, otherwise the deal runs a ” material risk of consumer and competitive harm.” NCTA is primarily concerned about the impact of the merged broadcast group on retrans rates.
A smorgasbord of topics this week: (1) I don’t know it for a fact, but I know that it’s true that Charlie Ergen is the money behind Locast, the OTT service that is streaming local broadcast signals. (2) Retrans is also under attack from STELAR, the law that empowers satellite operators to import distant signals of network O&Os into areas where subscribers cannot receive local affiliates off air and is up for renewal. (3) With the emergence of the new Fox Corp. this week, a forecast finds that most of its broadcast fee growth will come from reverse comp. (4) A tip of the hat to FCC Comish Michael O’Rielly for taking on the Justice Department, which has been stepping on the FCC’s turf regarding local TV ownership rules.
The lawmakers from Colorado and Wyoming say the satellite operator’s offering of distant signals from New York and Los Angeles in place of local affiliates in 12 small markets is “unacceptable” and “must end.”
Broadcasters, led by the NAB, are urging lawmakers to let the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization, or STELAR, expire on Dec. 31. STELAR is at the top of NAB’s legislative hit list in part because it has morphed into a tool that one company in particular — DirecTV — has been using to bypass stations and retransmission consent fees in up to a dozen markets. But of larger concern is that cable and satellite operators will use the legislation as a vehicle to weaken broadcasters’ retransmission consent rights.
A couple weeks before the FCC deadline for petitions to deny Nexstar’s $4.1 billion acquisition of Tribune, the agency received a different sort of download on the broadcaster. HolstonConnect, a subsidiary of rural electric cooperative Holston Electric of Tennessee, has filed an FCC complaint against Nexstar, claiming it has failed to negotiate retrans consent rights in good faith.