ACA Ratifies Digital-Carriage Deal With Public TV Stations


The American Cable Association has ratified a major digital-carriage agreement with the Association of Public Television Stations and the Public Broadcasting Service, a deal that will guarantee more than 3 million American households will view local public stations’ multicast programming after the February digital transition. 

The agreement was ratified following the Federal Communications Commission’s recent adoption of an order exempting small cable operators that are not affiliated with a major cable operator from being required to carry a high-definition version of local broadcast signals.

The discussion on the pact have been taking place for more than three years

“This agreement is a milestone for hometown America and an example of how cooperation between broadcasters and cable operators benefits consumers who will now receive the best in national and local PBS programming,” ACA president and CEO Matthew Polka said in a statement. 

Polka added that he expects more ACA members to sign onto the agreement now that the agreement has been ratified and the FCC has finalized its DTV order.

“APTS’ goal has been to ensure that Public Television stations’ local services are available to everyone they serve,” APTS acting president and CEO Mark Erstling said in a prepared statement. “This ratification by ACA members of our carriage agreement is a significant step forward toward meeting that goal.”

The 10-year agreement applies to participating ACA members’ HD cable systems and includes digital carriage of public TV stations after the DTV transition.  Under the agreement, cable operators would carry the primary signal of the participating public TV station on the lowest-priced tier, while multicast channels would be carried on the tier where other multicast channels are carried.

“PBS is committed to being everywhere our viewers want to access our expanded multicast content, made possible by the digital transition,” PBS president and CEO Paula Kerger said in a prepared statement. “This agreement helps ensure that all Americans will be able to enjoy all that public service media has to offer.”