Small ops outraged about “obscene” retrans deals

Fri, 05/08/2009 - 8:45am
Brian Santo

The financial gains from new retransmission consent agreements that broadcast TV stations reported in the most recent quarter are “borderline obscene.”

It has long been the American Cable Association’s contention that the retrans process is broken, with the balance of power tipped far too heavily toward broadcasters, and the recent financials from the broadcasters was simply more evidence bolstering its case.

“The results ranged from truly excessive to borderline obscene,” the ACA said.

According to the ACA:

  • Journal Communications reported a 333.3 percent gain in retransmission consent revenue, bringing the total to $1.3 million.
  • Hearst-Argyle Television had a rise of 97.8 percent, to $12.4 million.
  • LIN TV had an increase of 82 percent, to $8.9 million.
  • Belo was up 10 percent, to $9.7 million.
  • Sinclair Broadcast Group reported a 7.5 percent increase, to $21.1 million.

"When cable customers want to know why their bills keep going up, all they need to do is look at how TV stations exploit retransmission consent to squeeze every penny they can from pay-TV providers, especially ACA's small, independent cable companies," ACA President and CEO Matthew Polka said. "Not only do these excessive carriage fees drive up the cost of subscription TV, but small cable operators then have less money to invest in their networks to deliver more channels in HD, faster broadband Internet speeds and advanced phone services with multiple low-cost features.

"Congress expressed its desire not to address retransmission consent as part of this year’s Satellite Home Viewer Act (SHVA) reauthorization, and ACA will respect that wish and not push for Congressional action in 2009. However, long term, ACA remains committed to finding a solution to this problem," Polka continued.

More Broadband Direct 05/08/09:
•  Investors skittish about tech stocks
•  Small ops outraged about "obscene" retrans deals
•  Dish launches remote DVR service
•  DirecTV, EchoStar fight cable-related tax battle in Ohio
•  Windstream's Q1 earnings, revenue fall
•  OpenTV's revenues dip in Q1
•  Cable Cable turns on SDV with Cisco, Adara
•  Novatel reports Q1 loss; beats analyst views
•  Google CEO doesn't see problem with Apple role
•  Toshiba posts record loss
•  Broadband Briefs for 05/08/09



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