ACA survey: Retransmission agreements unfair
The American Cable Association fired off another salvo this week in its quest to get the Federal Communications Commission to act in regard to the cost of retransmission payments by TV stations.
The ACA sent survey results to the FCC on Wednesday, which found – among other items – that since the beginning of the year, survey respondents have seen their cash retransmission agreements increase 271 percent.
Small systems with 1,000 subscribers or fewer got hit with increases that were 200 percent higher than the increases experienced by systems with 25,000 subscribers or more.
The survey also found that the burden of retransmission consent relative to all programming costs was growing rapidly. In 2008, retransmission consent represented 2.4 percent of all programming costs, compared with 8 percent this year.
The ACA has long maintained that the retransmission agreements from TV stations place the small- and medium-size cable operators that comprise its membership at a distinct disadvantage.
"This survey shows that TV stations flagrantly use their market power to charge excessively large retransmission consent fees, demand carriage of affiliated programming over cable operator objections, and insist that operators set aside channels for programming still on the drawing board and not even close to being ready for distribution," said ACA President and CEO Matthew Polka.
The survey was conducted by Clarus Research Group (CRG) in Washington, D.C., and included responses from about 25 percent of the ACA’s members. The ACA submitted CRG's findings for inclusion in the FCC's annual video competition report to Congress.