PITTSBURGH, October 27, 2010 - "Fox's blackout of 3 million Cablevision customers in the New York City area, now in its twelfth day, confirms ACA's long-held view that the broken retransmission consent system would eventually result in major consumer harm inspired by TV stations' lust for cash instead of service to the public.
"Although the Fox-Cablevision dispute is receiving all the headlines, the average ACA member with a few thousand subscribers is routinely forced less prominently to pay discriminatory retrans fees or else lose access to TV signals. Moreover, competing broadcasters in the same market form local pacts and jointly negotiate carriage with pay-TV providers, knowing that this type of collusive bargaining increases their leverage. The increasing disparity in bargaining power between broadcasters and pay-TV operators harms consumers, who either see their TV signals go dark or see a spike in cable rates as their reward for wanting to view `free TV.'
"ACA agrees with Cablevision that the time has come for the Federal Communications Commission to protect consumers from Fox's boycott by ordering binding arbitration and immediate restoration of Fox stations WNYW, WWOR, and WTXF. The FCC needs to protect the public from rank bad actors like Fox who believe the FCC will not step in and stop them from shaking down cable customers. Until broadcasters' misconduct is dealt with squarely by the FCC, no one should be surprised to see TV stations across the country exploit a blackmail-or-blackout strategy patented in Fox's executive suite."
About the American Cable AssociationBased in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing nearly 900 smaller and medium-sized independent cable companies who provide broadband services for more than 7.6 million cable subscribers primarily located in rural and smaller suburban markets across America. Through active participation in the regulatory and legislative process in Washington, D.C., ACA's members work together to advance the interests of their customers and ensure the future competitiveness and viability of their business. For more information, visit http://www.americancable.org/
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