American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka issued the following statement on Sept. 9 regarding Rep. Anna Eshoo's draft legislation that would reform the outdated retransmission consent system:
"ACA applauds Rep. Eshoo for having the vision and courage to offer a timely and thoughtful plan for addressing serious problems causing harm to consumers related to the broken retransmission consent and sports programming markets -- highlighted by a record-number of broadcaster signal blackouts and skyrocketing retrans fees that push up monthly pay-TV bills.
"Rep. Eshoo -- who, as author of the CALM Act, has almost no peer in understanding deep consumer frustration tied to the communications marketplace -- distributed her draft bill just one week after CBS ended its massive and unprecedented retransmission consent blackout of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks. CBS' 32-day blackout also brazenly cut off millions of TWC and BHN broadband consumers to CBS.com content.
"To her great credit, Rep. Eshoo has proposed a set of commonsense reforms. ACA agrees that the nation's top media regulator - the Federal Communications Commission -- should have the authority to prevent TV signal blackouts as part of its mandate to protect the public interest, convenience and necessity. We also agree with Rep. Eshoo that consumers should not have to buy local TV stations that elect retransmission consent as part of their pay-TV package."
"Lastly, with a staggering $42 billion in TV rights money owed to the NFL by ESPN, CBS, NBC and Fox, ACA believes with Rep. Eshoo that the time has come for the FCC to study the programming costs for regional and national sports networks in the top 20 regional sports markets."