ATVA: Cable Act Was Disaster for Consumers

Marks anniversary with raspberry for must-carry/retrans reg vehicle

The American Television Alliance is marking the Oct. 5, 25th anniversary of the Cable Act by branding it a "disaster" for consumers.

The act established the retransmission consent/must carry regime--TV stations can either chose to require MVPDs to carry their signals, but cannot ask for a fee or give up that mandatory carriage and negotiate a price, with the understanding that if they don't reach a deal, MVPDs do not have to carry them.

“For 25 years, cable, satellite and telco TV customers have paid more than $40 billion to the broadcast industry for something that was once free, broadcast TV," said ATVA spokesman Trent Duffy. “Today, broadcast TV fees are soaring, broadcasters blackouts are out of control and consumers are held hostage by a federal law written before the advent of HDTV, the Internet and smartphones.”

ATVA called on Congress and/or the FCC to revisit the regime, though that is highly unlikely under its current Republican control.

ATVA members include Charter, Mediacom, Discovery, Dish, Verizon and AT&T.

ATVA member the American Cable Association Wednesday (Oct. 4) launched a campaign, Ransom TV, branding broadcasters the cause of consumer-unfriendly carriage impasse blackouts and spiraling retrans fees.

Related: Broadcasters LOL at MVPD 'Ransom' Campaign

Separately, ACA this week asked the FCC to declare retrans blackouts a violation of FCC rules requiring such carriage negotiations be conducted in good faith, but that is a long shot, too.


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