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With Massive CBS Blackout, ACA Urges Congress, FCC To Protect Consumers

American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka issued on Aug. 5 the following statement regarding CBS' decision to black out Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks at 5 p.m. EDT on August 2, 2013:

"The action taken by CBS to black out millions of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks customers validates ACA's oft-stated position that the rules governing retransmission consent are outdated and need to reflect current market conditions.

"Although many Multichannel Video Programming Distributors (MVPDs), especially independent cable operators, have been urging Congress and the Federal Communications Commission to adopt rules that prevent consumers from losing access to programming during these disputes, TV station owners have failed to support such consumer-friendly actions.

"With the CEO of CBS openly declaring war on Time Warner Cable, Congress and the FCC need to take action to ensure that these types of disputes do not continue to erupt and victimize consumers who, in this case and in many more, seem to be at the mercy of a bellicose broadcast CEO with a Napoleon complex.

"Congress and the FCC should also be troubled that in addition to blacking out Time Warner Cable video customers, CBS took the unwarranted step of blocking Time Warner Cable and Bright House broadband customers from accessing a range of CBS.com content, including full-length episodes of previously aired broadcast programming. Worse, CBS' Internet blackout includes Time Warner Cable broadband customers who receive MVPD service from providers who have retransmission consent deals with CBS in effect. Shameful does not even begin to describe CBS' brutal assault on consumers."

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