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American Cable Association President & CEO Matthew M. Polka On Sen. John Kerry’s Hearing On Retransmission Consent Reform

PITTSBURGH, November 17, 2010 - "Today's hearing held by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) demonstrated that members of Congress don't believe that retransmission consent negotiations are conducted in a purely free-market setting. A watershed event, this Senate hearing exposed that retransmission consent is a rigged game that broadcasters exploit to gouge millions of consumers who subscribe to pay-TV service. As Sen. Kerry suggested, these consumers are the same people who let TV stations use publicly owned spectrum worth billions of dollars for free.

"The testimony clearly revealed that retransmission consent is a classic case of a government policy allowing the powerful to prey on the weak in a manner that smacks of social Darwinism. To bring about genuine reform, Congress must step in and adopt policies that prevent TV station owners from taking advantage of smaller pay-TV providers by charging them higher rates than larger ones and from forming local pacts to negotiate jointly retransmission consent, which give TV stations even more bargaining leverage over ACA members. ACA agrees with Tom Rutledge, Chief Operating Officer of Cablevision Systems Corp., that TV stations should not be allowed to discriminate among pay-TV providers by coercing smaller providers into paying much more per-subscriber than larger providers that serve the same local market."

About the American Cable Association

Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing nearly 900 smaller and medium-sized, independent cable companies who provide broadband services for more than 7.6 million cable subscribers primarily located in rural and smaller suburban markets across America.  Through active participation in the regulatory and legislative process in Washington, D.C., ACA's members work together to advance the interests of their customers and ensure the future competitiveness and viability of their business.  For more information, visit http://www.americancable.org/

 

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