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ACA asks FCC to allow market forces to govern retransmission consent price

The American Cable Association (ACA) has asked the FCC to allow the market to determine the price of retransmission consent. Specifically, the trade group, which represents small and independent cable operators, asked the commission to adjust broadcast exclusivity and retransmission consent regulations to reflect marketplace changes for broadcasters, consumers and cable companies.

The cable group wants the FCC to maintain broadcast exclusivity for stations that elect must-carry or that do not seek additional payment for retransmission consent. It wants the elimination of exclusivity when a broadcaster elects retransmission consent and seeks additional payment for carriage.

The ACA asked the FCC to prohibit any party, including a network, from preventing a broadcast station from granting retransmission consent. Every three years broadcasters can choose must-carry or retransmission consent.

However, according to the ACA, broadcasters use current FCC rules to demand payment for carriage and at the same time rely on other FCC rules to prevent consumers and their cable providers from shopping for lower-cost alternatives. Without reform, the group said, this year’s broadcast cash demands threaten to add more than $860 million to the cost of basic cable.

The FCC has released the ACA’s petition for rulemaking for public comment.

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