ACAction Brief - your connection to news and initiatives
ACA Public Issue – January 11, 2012 

 Key Development  

ACA Lauds FCC's Review Of Broadcasters' Coordinated Retrans Negotiations

The American Cable Association commended the Federal Communications Commission for its Dec. 22 decision to examine coordinated retransmission consent bargaining practices by separately owned TV stations serving the same market, an issue ACA has been highlighting for a long time.

"ACA is very pleased that the FCC has sought comment on the impact of separately owned, same-market broadcasters who coordinate their action in the retransmission consent market. In comments filed with the FCC, ACA has shown that coordinated negotiation of retransmission consent harms local competition and artificially increases retransmission consent fees, which consumers absorb in the form of higher rates,” ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said. “ACA commends the FCC for taking this important next step in the process, which we hope will lead to an outright prohibition of a practice that harms competition and consumers."

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ACA Seeks Greater Transparency On Coordinated Retrans Negotiations

The American Cable Association called on the Federal Communications Commission to impose transparency requirements to prevent television station owners that coordinate their retransmission consent negotiations from keeping their price-fixing schemes a secret from the public and regulators charged with enforcing station ownership limits, retransmission consent rules, and antitrust statutes.

ACA said the FCC should require broadcasters to place in their online public file any agreement, regardless of name or purported "efficiencies," that one station enters into with another separately owned TV station in the same market for ready inspection by the public, regulators and others.

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  News Headlines

  • U.S. Commerce Dept: Reclaiming Broadcast Spectrum Is 'Vital' (Broadcasting & Cable, 1/6)
    The Commerce Department put in a pitch for reclaiming spectrum for wireless broadband in a new competitiveness report, saying definitively that it did not think more effective use of spectrum can get the job done.
  • Comcast Starts To Kiss Analog TV Goodbye (Light Reading Cable, 1/6)
    In its effort to reclaim analog spectrum, Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) has gotten down to its most basic video service tier.
  • FCC Chairman Shuffles Senior Staff (The Hill, 1/5)
    Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski announced a series of personnel moves on Thursday in advance of the departure of his top aide at the end of the month.
  • Deloitte: 9% Of Consumers Have Cut Cord On Pay TV (FierceCable, 1/5)
    About 9 percent of U.S. cable and satellite TV subscribers have cancelled their pay TV subscriptions, and about 11 percent of consumers are thinking about cutting the cord on pay TV, Deloitte reports in its "State of the Media" survey.
  • Comcast, Disney Reach Major Carriage Pact (Multichannel News, 1/4)
    Comcast and The Walt Disney Co. have reached a massive carriage deal that will deliver programming from an array of networks, including ESPN and ABC, to the MSO's customers across a variety of platforms on a long-term basis.
  • Analyst: Netflix Now The 15th Most-Watched TV 'Network' in U.S. (The Hollywood Reporter, 1/4)
    Netflix would now be the 15th most-watched TV "network" in the U.S. and could be the second most-watched in Netflix homes, BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield wrote in a blog post Wednesday.
  • Obsolete Television Law Needs Modernization (Forbes, 1/4)
    Important free market communications legislation introduced in mid-December warrants flagging because it brings needed attention to a real and growing problem, how obsolete communications law stifles innovation, growth and consumer benefit.
  • Mobile DTV Takes A Step Closer To Reality (TVNewsCheck, 1/4)
    Later this year, MetroPCS will offer a new Samsung smartphone with a mobile DTV tuner chip and telescoping antenna.
  • New Legislation Aims To Lower Broadcaster Market Power (ACI, 1/4)
    This past Friday, legislation was introduced into both the House and Senate that would reform the television industry, doing away with what many say are outdated and onerous regulations that are hampering innovation and fair competition between multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) and broadcasters, in addition to curbing the ability of broadcasters to compete in a free market.
  • CES: Over Two Thirds Of U.S. Homes Have HDTVs (Broadcasting & Cable, 1/4)
    The number of HDTV in U.S. households continues to rise, hitting 69% according to new consumer research from Leichtman Research Group, Inc. (LRG), up from 17% in 2006. That means 52% of U.S. homes have adopted it in the last five year.
  • Roku Plugs Set-Top-On-A-Stick Into TVs (Multichannel News, 1/4)
    Roku wants to Internet-enable millions of TVs, including Best Buy's Insignia line, with a version of its streaming-video set-top box that it has boiled down into a stick about the size of a USB flash drive.

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 900 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 about 7.6 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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