Law brings local stations to more satellite TV markets

Fri, 05/28/2010 - 8:40am
Brian Santo

The Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act has been signed into law by President Obama. The law essentially encourages satellite TV companies to continue to expand the number of markets in which they distribute local broadcast channels in their local markets.

"For far too long, consumers in many small or rural markets didn't have access to their local news, weather and sports. One of the principal goals of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act was to encourage local television to be made available to all consumers via satellite," said Chairman John Conyers of the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary. "Implementation of the legislation will help make television markets more competitive and serve the interests of consumers nationwide."

Dish Network timed an announcement to coincide with the signing that it plans to launch local broadcast channels in 29 new markets on June 3. It says that with the addition of those markets, it will become the first pay-TV provider to offer local channels to consumers in every market nationwide.

As a practical matter, DirecTV is the only other TV service that could possibly have a nationwide footprint, and Dish CEO Charlie Ergen made a point of tweaking his rival: “While our nearest competitor offers local channels in only 75 percent of local markets, Dish Network is committed to offering consumers in all markets – particularly those living in smaller and rural communities.”

DirecTV issued the following statement: “On behalf of the millions of Americans who rely on satellite television, DirecTV applauds President Obama and Congress for enacting into law the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act. By maintaining a focus on the needs of satellite customers, the new law ensures uninterrupted network programming, particularly for those living in rural America."

NCTA President and CEO Kyle McSlarrow also released a statement: “We’re pleased that the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act of 2010 is now law. This five-year extension provides certainty that will enable the multichannel video marketplace to keep investing, innovating and delivering the robust services that 100 million American consumers enjoy.”

More Broadband Direct 5/28/10:

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•  Comcast expands Midwest rollout of 3G High-Speed 2go
•  Law brings local stations to more satellite TV markets
•  SeaChange prospers in first quarter
•  Invidi partners with Experian
•  Title II on FCC June meeting agenda
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