ACAction Brief - your connection to news and initiatives
ACA Public Issue – January 9, 2014 

 Key Developments  

ACA Commends DOJ Conditions On Gannett-Belo Transaction

American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka issued the following statement on Dec. 20 regarding the approval of the Gannett-Belo TV stations transaction by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC):

"ACA is pleased that the DOJ has blocked Gannett from entering into a sham arrangement in the St. Louis market that would allow it effectively to control two top-rated stations affiliated with the Big 4 networks. The DOJ's actions this week should prevent Gannett from being able to coordinate its retransmission consent negotiations with the station formerly owned by Belo in that market, thereby protecting consumers from the harmful effects of this anticompetitive practice.”

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ACA: Sinclair's Buckeye Blackout In Toledo Highlights Broken Retrans Market

American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka issued the following statement on Dec. 17 regarding Sinclair Broadcast Group's decision Sunday night to black out NBC affiliate WNWO, Channel 24, on Buckeye CableSystem in the Toledo, Ohio, area:

"The indifference of broadcasters, like Sinclair, toward blacking out cable customers, especially so close to the holiday season, in order to extract higher fees from cable operators and their customers, is nothing short of Grinch-like. In our view, broadcasters like Sinclair who would leave millions of consumers in the dark without notice are media malefactors who make a mockery of their legal obligation to serve the public interest, convenience and necessity. You're a mean one, Mr. Broadcaster.”

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  News Headlines

  • GCI's Denali Media Buys Three Alaska TV Stations (TVNewsCheck, 12/24)
    GCI’s Denali Media Holdings has agreed to purchase three CBS affiliates in southeast Alaska: KXLJ-LD Juneau, KTNL Sitka and KUBD Ketchikan -- from Ketchikan TV of Evergreen, Colo. No purchase price was disclosed.
  • Buckeye Print Ads Highlight Sinclair's TV Signal Blackout Strategy (TV Spy, 12/24)
    Buckeye CableSystem is waging a very public battle against Sinclair Broadcasting in a fight over retrans fees for Sinclair’s NBC station WNWO. Buckeye, owned by Block Communications, started placing print ads in the Block-owned newspaper The Blade depicting Sinclair as the bad guy in the fight.
  • CBS Affiliate WFSB Blacks Out Cablevision Customers (Multichannel News, 1/3)
    Despite a three-day extension to its retransmission consent agreement, Connecticut CBS affiliate WFSB went dark to Cablevision Systems customers at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 3, after the two could not reach an agreement.
  • Federal Court Rejects Dual-Carriage/Viewability Sunset Appeal (Multichannel News, 12/31)
    A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has denied a broadcaster appeal of the FCC's 2012 decision to sunset the viewability rule, deferring to the FCC's judgment and saying it had violated no rules of procedure.
  • Cable TV Contributes More Than 60 Percent Of Hollywood Profits (Hollywood Reporter, 1/6)
    How dependent is Hollywood on cable TV networks? Thanks to ad growth and gains from carriage fee negotiations, cable network units now contribute more than 60 percent of nearly all entertainment giants' operating profits.
  • All 5 Stations In The Quad-Cities Changed Owners In 2013 (Quad City Times, 12/28)
    All five commercial TV stations in the Quad Cities market have (or, pending Federal Communications Commission, or FCC, approval, will have) different owners from a year ago. It began in June when Young Broadcasting announced it was merging with Media General.
  • Connecticut Doles Out Millions In Tax Breaks To ESPN (Media Bistro, 12/17)
    ESPN has received about $260 million in state tax breaks and credits over the past 12 years, according to a New York Times analysis of public records. That includes $84.7 million in development tax credits because of a film and digital media program.
  • FCC's NFL Blackout Rule's Real Value Is In Retrans (TVNewsCheck, 12/20)
    The NFL is particularly important in retrans dealings. It was no coincidence that Time Warner Cable's abject surrender in its bitter retrans fight with CBS came just as the NFL season was about to start. Imagine: No Giants in New York, No Cowboys in Dallas.
  • Dish To Raise Rates In 2014, Blaming Programmers For Hikes (Variety, 12/20)
    Dish is raising its rate by $5 a month, Dish Network in February will increase prices on core programming packages for most customers by $5 per month — among other fee hikes — and as usual, the satcaster is putting the blame for the bigger bills on broadcast and cable TV nets.
  • Sinclair's Allbritton Deal Could Get Boost From FCC Rulings (Baltimore Business Journal, 12/26)
    Sinclair Broadcast Group’s deal to buy Washington, D.C.’s WJLA-TV and seven other television stations from Allbritton Communications could get a boost from a pair of recent decisions by the Federal Communications Commission.

For more ACA News visit the Newsroom on the ACA Website.

 About ACA  

Across this vast country, small and rural markets participate in the digital revolution by receiving video, broadband, and phone services from nearly 850 small and medium-sized independent operators represented by the American Cable Association (ACA).

ACA’s members -- cable, phone, and fiber-to-the-home operators and municipalities -- deliver affordable basic and advanced services to more than 7 million households and businesses. ACA members operate in every state, offering high-definition television, next generation Internet access, and digital phone service.

Access to advanced communications is not a luxury but a critical necessity for consumers and companies, schools and hospitals. America’s economic prosperity in smaller markets and rural areas depends on the growth and success of ACA members, who believe a connected nation, is a united nation.

The ACA asks lawmakers and regulators to ensure fair treatment so that small and medium-sized independent operators may continue to supply affordable video, broadband, and phone services to Main Street America. Through active participation in the policymaking process, ACA members and leaders advocate for the interests of their customers, their companies, and their communities to help ensure the continued viability of their way of life in hometown America.

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