A bipartisan pair of legislators has introduced the Modern Television Act of 2021 that would eliminate some “outdated” regulations including the must carry-retransmission consent regime that broadcasters use to secure payments from MVPDs for their local programming/signals and the compulsory copyright license. Broadcasters were not happy, while MVPDs were pleased with the prospect of must-carry going away, which they have long argued was a thumb on the scale for broadcasters, who can demand carriage, though it means they can’t negotiate payment.
The second-ranking House Republican and a key Democrat say they’ll push to end broadcasters’ ability to black out signals during negotiations with cable and satellite service providers.
Republican Whip Steve Scalise and senior Energy and Commerce Committee member Anna Eshoo said Monday they will unveil a bill in the coming weeks. It’s likely to set off a fierce lobbying battle between broadcasters, which would lose negotiating leverage, and cable providers, which stand to benefit.
Multiple Shootings At Congressional Ball Field
Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), House majority whip and a member of the House Communications subcommittee, and two Captiol police officers were shot Wednesday morning at a baseball practice for a charity baseball game in Alexandria, Va. The extent of injuries was not immediately available.
The Next Generation Television Marketplace Act would repeal compulsory copyright licenses, various mandates on private sector companies and consumers, and FCC broadcast and media ownership rules. And the Video CHOICE Act would, among other things, give the FCC authority to grant interim carriage of a TV station during a retransmission consent negotiation impasse.
Obsolete TV Law Needs Modernization
Important free market communications legislation introduced in mid-December warrants flagging because it brings needed attention to a real and growing problem, how obsolete communications law stifles innovation, growth and consumer benefit. The DeMint-Scalise bill, “The Next Generation Television Marketplace Act,” introduced by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), would repeal antiquated restrictions of the 1992 Cable Act that have been made obsolete by dramatic changes in market, competition and technology over the last 20 years.
Sponsored by Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), the Next Generation Television Marketplace Act would repeal the compulsory license, must-carry, retransmission consent and local broadcast ownership limits. NAB turns thumbs down.