NAB Puts Retrans Stance on Display

WASHINGTON: The National Association of Broadcasters enlisted advertising in the brewing retransmission fight. The NAB took out a display ad in Capitol Hill newspaper Politico. It quotes Time Warner Cable and Cablevision executives saying retransmission is working.

“The best way to achieve results is to privately seek a resolution and not attempt to negotiate through the press or elected officials,” TWC chief Glenn Britt is quoted saying to The Washington Post.

An observation that retrans costs would not likely be shifted to customers is attributed to Cablevision’s chief operating officer, Tom Rutledge, as reported by Multichannel News.

“We couldn’t agree more,” the NAB ad says.

The ad represents the latest volley in an escalating battle over retransmission consent law. The law allows broadcasters to charge cable and satellite operators fees for TV signals. Additional legislation prevents those pay TV providers from carrying the signal of another station when talks break down.

Carriers are fighting tooth-and-nail to alter a provision in retransmission law allowing broadcasters to pull signals when contracts expire during negotiations. The Federal Communications Commission has elected to leave retrans as it is, but the cable industry is petitioning the agency to open the issue for a rulemaking.

The NAB ad implores lawmakers to not sign a letter circulated by New York Congressmen Steve Israel and Peter King calling for reform.

“There’s no need to fix what isn’t broken,” the
NAB ad says. “Don’t sign the King-Israel letter asking to tilt the scales in favor of cable TV.”

-- Deborah D. McAdams

July 22, 2010
: “Lawmakers Urge FCC to Revision Retransmission
Another Washington, D.C. lawmaker has asked FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski to revisit retransmission consent rules as a fight brews between two TV powerhouses.

July 20, 2010: “New York Retrans Fight Goes to D.C.
A movement in New York to dismantle retransmission consent rules reached Capitol Hill, where two of the state’s representatives are calling for reform.

July 15, 2010: “New York Broadcasters Band Against City’s Retrans Proposal”
Broadcasters in New York are fighting a proposed City Council resolution to ask Congress for a repeal of retransmission consent law.