Broadcasters have more friends in high places, as in on The Hill, for their effort to sunset the satellite distant signal license, though that is itself a high hill to climb. “It is clear that the distant signal license has outlived its usefulness,” said Rep. Jared Golden in a letter to the leadership of the House Energy & Commerce and Judiciary Committees, which together will consider how and whether to renew the STELAR Act.
The MVPDs are pushing the Local Choice alternative to retransmission consent in the pending STELAR home satellite renewal legislation as it did in 2014. So, TVNewsCheck is posting broadcast attorney Jack Goodman’s 1,564-word argument against the proposal as it did in 2014.
Danny O’Brien, who heads up Fox’s lobbying arm in D.C., has hit the ground running today, day one of the new Fox Corp. He has been ramping up the operation for the past four months, including for what will be a months-long battle with cable operators over renewal of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization (STELAR) act.
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.
With the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization (STELAR) set to expire at the end of the year, the American Cable Association’s Ross Lieberman was optimistic there could be some retransmission consent reform included in its renewal.
The National Association of Broadcasters is circulating a policy paper on Capitol Hill advocating for not renewing the STELAR law (Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act) when it expires at the end of 2019. STELAR reauthorizes the satellite compulsory distant signal license for five years. But last time around it was also a vehicle for some cable-friendly changes to retrans, including renewing the FCC’s enforcement of good faith retrans negotiations and extending the commission’s prohibition on coordinated retrans negotiations among noncommonly owned TV stations in a market from the top four to all stations.