July 24 Targeted for Retrans Hearing: Sources


The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on video in general and retransmission consent in particular on July 24, according to sources.
Witnesses likely to be invited include Marty Franks of CBS; the National Association of Broadcasters' Gordon Smith; Melinda Witmer from Time Warner Cable; Colleen Abdoulah from Wide Open West! and a leading member of the American Cable Association; former top Disney Washington executive Preston Padden; and Mark Cooper of the Consumer Federation of America.
Multichannel News reported last month that the committee was eyeing late July for a hearing on retransmission consent, which would likely include some attention to the sweeping communications deregulation bill backed by Senator James DeMint (R-S.C.). The bill is not likely to go anywhere in the Senate, but DeMint is in line to be ranking member and perhaps chairman, and some cable and satellite companies are said to have pushed for a hearing.
The House recently held its own future of video hearing, an issue that has heated up with the move of video online and issues like the Aereo transmission/retransmisison service dispute and the FCC's request for comment on whether online video providers should be defined as MVPDS, with the rights and privileges that entails.