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ACA: Tribune's Blackout Of DirecTV Supports Need For Action By Congress, FCC On Retransmission Consent Reform

PITTSBURGH, April 2, 2012 - American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka issued the following statement based on news reports that Tribune Broadcasting is blacking out DirecTV customers in 19 markets, affecting millions of harmless satellite TV consumers:

"Tribune Broadcasting's decision to black out millions of DirecTV customers in 19 markets across the country supports ACA's view expressed many times before Congress and the Federal Communications Commission that current retransmission consent rules need to be modernized because they no longer serve the public interest.  The rules are outdated because they have failed to keep pace with the dynamic change in the delivery of video programming by cable, satellite and Internet-based distribution platforms that has occurred in the 20 years since the rules were first enacted by Congress.

Tribune's blackout is hardly unique.  Cordillera Communications, owner of NBC affiliate KRIS, Telemundo affiliate KAJA, CW South Texas and independent station KDF in Corpus Christi, Texas, pulled its signals from Time Warner Cable on Dec. 12, 2011, some 111 days ago, resulting in the cable operator's customers not being able to watch the Super Bowl.  Until the law and rules change, everyone can expect that TV station owners will continue to push their `blackmail or blackout' strategy to the detriment of consumers and competition.

"ACA is hopeful that Tribune's actions will set the stage this year for final action at the FCC on the pending rulemaking to reform retransmission consent rules and will spur the U.S. House and Senate to hold a series of hearings on the video marketplace, particularly the decades-old retransmission consent rules."

About the American Cable Association: Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing about 850 smaller and medium-sized, independent cable companies who provide broadband services for more than 7.4 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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