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ACA Supports Time Warner Cable's "Get Tough" Campaign On Rising Programming Costs, Urges Regulators To Repair A Market Badly Sha

In keeping with its emphasis on consumer protection, the American Cable Association is supporting Time Warner Cable's decision to educate the public that media giants that own cable networks and TV stations threaten to cut off viewers from their content unless multichannel programming distributors sign new contracts with egregiously large license fee increases.

"Small cable operators and their customers, who cannot afford to engage in hand-to-hand combat with price-gouging media conglomerates, applaud Time Warner Cable's efforts to ‘Get Tough' with programmers in hopes that some modicum of reasonableness will return to the market as a result," ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said.

ACA continue to urge Congress and the Federal Communications Commission to fix the broken cable and broadcast programming market, which increases costs and limits choices for consumers. ACA has sought new regulations designed to ensure that owners of cable networks and broadcast stations may not discriminate against small and medium-sized cable operators by charging them higher fees than those paid by larger operators in the same local market.

Also, ACA has urged policymakers to take action to prevent media conglomerates from using their market power to impose unreasonable tiering and penetration requirements on small cable operators, which results in consumers paying for programming that they have no interest in viewing.

In addition to the harms caused to cable customers, ACA maintains that the market abuses of these media giants result in small cable operators having less money to build badly needed broadband infrastructure in rural communities and other economically challenging locations to serve.

"ACA hopes that Time Warner Cable's public relations campaign highlighting marketplace misdeeds will lead Congress and the FCC to recognize that cable networks and broadcasters regularly abuse their market power -- particularly against smaller cable operators -- to drive up the cost of cable, limit consumer choices, and deplete capital that could be used to expand broadband in rural areas," Polka said.

Links to Related News Stories
Time Warner Cable: More Than 400,000 Visited Its Programming Choice Web Site (Multichannel News, 12/8)
400,000 Consumers Tell Time Warner To Stop Price Hikes (Orange County Register, 12/8)
Time Warner Cable Mulling New Pricing Options For Consumers (Wall Street Journal, 12/8)

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