ACAction Brief - your connection to news and initiatives
ACA Public Issue – December 18, 2013 

 Key Developments  

ACA Applauds Introduction Of Eshoo-Lofgren Video CHOICE Act

 
American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka issued the following statement on Dec. 12 regarding introduction of the Video CHOICE (Consumers Have Options In Choosing Entertainment) Act of 2013 by Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.) Ranking Member of the House Communications and Technology Subcommittee, and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), senior Member of the House Judiciary Committee, to eliminate broadcast television blackouts and give consumers greater flexibility to choose the channels they receive each month from their cable, satellite or other pay-TV provider.

"ACA applauds Reps. Eshoo and Lofgren for introducing a bill that will provide relief to consumers harmed by outdated retransmission consent rules that broadcasters relentlessly abuse, highlighted by a record number of TV signal blackouts and escalating price demands well in excess of inflation."

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ACA Commends Scalise-Gardner Video Reform Bill

 
American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka issued the following statement on Dec. 12 regarding the reintroduction of the Next Generation Television Marketplace Act by Reps. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.):

"ACA commends Reps. Scalise and Gardner for introducing legislation aimed at overhauling communications laws and regulations that are out of touch with current market conditions. This legislation will set the stage for replacing archaic laws and regulations with a fresh set of policies that will truly serve the public interest."

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ACA Wants FCC To Stop Nexstar's TV Station Collusion In Binghamton, N.Y.

 
The American Cable Association urged the Federal Communications Commission to prevent Nexstar Broadcasting Group from negotiating pay-TV carriage deals for three of the four Big Four TV stations in Binghamton, N.Y., in an effort to gain undue bargaining leverage over cable operators and push cable rates even higher for consumers.

"There is no legal or policy justification for permitting Nexstar to aggregate such extraordinary market power in a single market," ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said on Nov. 26. "The FCC should not permit legally separate competitors to coordinate their retransmission consent negotiations. Such collusive behavior is blatantly anticompetitive and would result in significant harm to consumers."

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ACA Calls On FCC To Block Sinclair's Retransmission Consent Collusion

 
The American Cable Association called on the Federal Communications Commission to prevent Sinclair Broadcasting from colluding in the negotiation of retransmission consent with a "sidecar" license holder that is separate from Sinclair in name only so that it can drive up prices to pay-TV providers seeking to distribute the companies' local TV station signals to their customers.

"Sinclair's disregard for pro-competitive ownership limits invites the conclusion that Sinclair views the FCC's rulebook as nothing but an index of vague suggestions, a lump of clay to be shaped by private interests confident they can deflect anyone's objections brought before the FCC," ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said on Dec. 4.

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ACA: Small Cable Must Be Compensated For Post-Auction TV Channel Relocation Costs

 
The American Cable Association urged the Federal Communications Commission to protect to the maximum extent small cable providers who seek reimbursement, as Congress intended, for costs incurred in continuing to carry local TV signals that have been relocated as a result of spectrum auctions in the broadcast TV band.

"ACA appreciates the FCC's effort to develop a ‘Catalog of Eligible Expenses' for costs incurred by multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) that continue to carry broadcast television stations after the FCC conducts the incentive auctions. Such a list will provide the clarity required to implement Congress' directive in the Spectrum Act that it reimburse costs ‘reasonably incurred' by MVPDs to continue to carry a broadcast signal due to channel relocations, but it must be flexible enough to accommodate all such costs" ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said on Nov. 21

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ACA Commends FCC Chairman Wheeler On Thoughtful Approach To Conducting IP Trials

 
American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka issued the following statement on Dec. 10 regarding FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's announcement that the FCC will conduct IP transition trials:

"ACA understands Chairman Wheeler's desire to undertake trials to test the impact of the IP transition, and we applaud his efforts to ensure that trials gather data and information on ways to preserve and advance competition and consumer choice. ACA looks forward to working with the FCC as these trials progress. At the same time, the FCC needs to affirm that its interconnection regime applies to managed VoIP traffic, a key service for the customers of many ACA Members. There is no need to wait on addressing that issue while the trials are under way."

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 End Of The Year Recap  

ACAction Brief's Top 10 Key Developments in 2013 (#1-#10)

 
As the year comes to an end, the following is a look back at the ACAction Brief's top 10 Key Developments of 2013. From more than 70 stories published this year, we narrowed them down to those special stories that were most important to ACA and its members.

  • #10) ACA Board Member Earle MacKenzie Testifies Before House Panel On Communications Reform:
    American Cable Association Board Member Earle A. MacKenzie (right), who is Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Shenandoah Telecommunications Company (Shentel), testified Sept. 10 before the House Subcommittee On Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet regarding a number of communications polices critical to the independent cable community.
  • #9) With Massive CBS Blackout, ACA Urges Congress, FCC To Protect Consumers
    American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka issued astatement on Aug. 5 criticizing CBS' decision to black out Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks at 5 p.m. EDT on August 2, 2013
  • #8) ACA Applauds FCC For Requiring IPTV Providers To Pay Per-Subscriber Regulatory Fees
    American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka issued a statement on Aug. 13 praising the Federal Communications Commission's new regulatory fee schedule
  • #7) ACA Applauds Sen. Rockefeller's GAO Request To Study TV Station Collusion
    American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka issued a May 14 statement commending Sen. John D. (Jay) Rockefeller's request to the U.S. Government Accountability Office for a study on the impact of TV station shared services agreements (SSAs) on consumers.
  • #6) ACA's Boyers Calls For New Policies To Address Challenges Faced By Small Cable
    American Cable Association Board Member Patricia Jo Boyers testified April 9 before the Senate Commerce Committee in support of new communications laws and policies that need to reflect the unique challenges faced by independent cable operators.
  • #5) ACA Applauds Bipartisian Latta-Green Bill Repealing Set-Top Box Integration Ban
    American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka issued a statement on Sept. 26 commending Rep. Bob Latta and Rep. Gene Green's bill repealing the Federal Communications Commission's regulation requiring cable operators to deploy set-tops boxes (STBs) with a separate security module known as the CableCARD.
  • #4) ACA: No FCC Broadband Money Into Areas Cable Is Serving
    The American Cable Association called on the Federal Communications Commission to presume that larger telephone carriers - the so-called price cap carriers - should not receive support to deploy broadband in areas where cable operators provide broadband according to the National Broadband Map.
  • #3) ACA Members: FCC Needs To End Coordinated Retransmission Consent Bargaining Now
    In a Feb. 4 letter, more than two dozen executives from ACA Member companies called on the Federal Communications Commission to take action against broadcast stations that are engaging in anti-competitive coordination designed to extract excessive retransmission consent compensation.
  • #2) ACA To FCC: Update Program Access Rules To Cover Buying Groups, Like NCTC
    The American Cable Association called on the Federal Communications Commission to ensure the rights of buying groups under the program access rules to access, on non-discriminatory terms and conditions, video programming controlled by vertically integrated cable operators and affiliated programmers.

    AND THERE IS A TIE FOR #1

  • #1) ACA Commends Scalise-Gardner Video Reform Bill
    American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka issued a statement on Dec. 12 welcoming the reintroduction of the Next Generation Television Marketplace Act by Reps. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.).
  • #1) ACA Applauds Introduction Of Eshoo-Lofgren Video CHOICE Act
    American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka issued a statement on Dec. 12 praising the introduction of the Video CHOICE (Consumers Have Options In Choosing Entertainment) Act of 2013 by Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) to eliminate broadcast television blackouts and give consumers greater flexibility to choose the channels they receive each month.

  News Headlines


  • Sinclair Blacks Out NBC Affiliate On Toledo's Buckeye CableSystem (The Blade, 12/16)
    WNWO, Channel 24, the NBC affiliate in the Toledo area, on Sunday ordered Buckeye CableSystem to remove its signal from Buckeye’s carriage at midnight after the existing retransmission consent contract between the two expired.
  • FCC Targets Sinclair Sidecar Deals In 3 Markets (TVNewsCheck, 12/06)
    The FCC’s Media Bureau has alleged that the sidecar transactions that Sinclair Broadcast Group has proposed in three markets as part of its $985-million pending acquisition of Allbritton Communications — Charleston, S.C., Birmingham, Ala., and Harrisburg, Pa. — would violate agency ownership rules.
  • NCTA To Jump Into Retrans Reform Fight (TVNewsCheck, 12/13)
    In a break for the pay TV companies lobbying for retransmission consent reform, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association late Thursday announced that it is planning to put more of its weight behind the campaign.
  • Media General Expects Rapid Retrans Growth (TVNewsCheck, 12/11)
    Fresh off its merger with Young Broadcasting, Media General is expecting strong growth in retransmission consent revenue this year and next, CEO George Mahoney said at the UBS Global Media & Communications Conference in New York today.
  • Cable ONE's McKenna To Retire At End Of Year (Multichannel News, 12/10)
    Cable One said Tuesday that long-time senior vice president and chief sales and marketing officer Jerry McKenna will retire at the end of the year.
  • Chase Carey Calls A La Carte Pay TV Pricing A "Farce" (Deadline New York, 12/10)
    The 21st Century Fox COO has a lot at stake in preserving the pay TV bundle, and scoffs at consumers’ continuing interest in a la carte pricing.
  • Retrans, Political Ad Gusher Fuels $10 Billion Burst Of Station Sales (Variety, 12/10)
    Forget New York, Silicon Valley or even Sun Valley: The locus of the action in media M&A this year has been in places like Seattle, St. Louis, Houston and Phoenix.
  • Cable and Satellite Companies May Use Aereo For Leverage (The Motley Fool, 12/10)
    The basic business model of Aereo is it provides an antennae to each individual customer in order for that person to be able to capture content from the four major broadcasters. From there the content can be streamed to a variety of screen options.
  • Free (State) Thinking On Retrans (Broadcasting & Cable, 12/10)
    In the latest in a series of "Perspectives" on industry issues, free market think tank The Free State Foundation President Randolph May and visiting fellow Gregory Vogt argue that there is at least a connection between high retrans fees and broadcasters' willingness to participate in an incentive auction.
  • Disney CFO Rasulo: Online MVPDs Will Have To Pay The Freight (Multichannel News, 12/10)
    Disney chief financial officer Jay Rasulo agreed that an online pay TV service is coming, but told an industry audience Tuesday that any such programming deals with his company would only be with a provider that offers a service similar to what is already out there.

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



 About ACA  

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.

For more information, visit www.americancable.org, or contact:

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