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ACA: TV Stations' Real Problem Is With Retransmission Consent, Not With Multichannel Video Programming Distributors

PITTSBURGH, June 16, 2015 - American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka issued the following statement regarding the decision by a group of commonly owned TV stations to file a complaint at the Federal Communications Commission alleging a failure to bargain in good-faith by DirecTV:

"It is without doubt that the TV stations that filed the FCC complaint against DirecTV discarded the National Association of Broadcasters' talking points about how retransmission consent is working perfectly and change is out of the question.

"Judging from the TV stations' complaint, it is evident that the retransmission consent market is broken and not working for these broadcasters any better than for cable operators.  The time has come for these TV stations and others that have also filed good faith complaints to step out from NAB's long shadow and join ACA in supporting efforts to update the rules and equip them with a strong referee that can help protect consumers and competition when negotiations break down.

"Updating existing FCC regulations isn't the only answer.  Broadcasters that have filed good faith complaints must recognize that their grievances would become a thing of the past if the rest of their industry would withdraw its opposition to the concept of Local Choice, an alternative to retransmission consent that lets consumers decide whether they want to pay the fees TV stations are charging without any measureable involvement by multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs).  The Local Choice business model for the traditional MVPD platform is the same one being used by CBS and its station affiliate partners in their roll out of CBS All Access, which is a linear stream of local CBS stations on the Internet for $5.99 monthly and is now available in 94 markets that include 64% of U.S. households."

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 nearly 7 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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