The American Cable Association Tuesday applauded Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-Va.) for requesting the GAO to study the impact of TV station shared service and joint sales agreements on the media marketplace.
In the request, Rockefeller cited many of the concerns small cable operators have registered with the FCC and others about the agreements.
"ACA welcomes a report that examines the widespread and increasing practice of separately owned broadcasters on the local level coordinating their sale of retransmission consent," said ACA president Matt Polka in a statement. "This behavior increases broadcasters' bargaining power over ACA Members in their negotiations and drives up the cost of carriage fees for millions of consumers.
Polka says ACA can provide GAO with evidence that "Big Four" affiliates are "colluding" on retrans to deny consumers competitive pricing.
"We are optimistic that in response to Sen. Rockefeller's request, the GAO will validate ACA's claims that broadcast stations are engaging in widespread anticompetitive coordination designed to extract excessive retransmission-consent compensation from pay-TV providers as compared to broadcasters that negotiate individually," he said.