Mediacom Communications Corp. is strongly opposed to relaxing national
broadcast-ownership limits without conditions, saying that the major TV networks
would use deregulation to extract higher and higher programming fees from cable
Mediacom is headed by chairman and CEO Rocco Commisso, an outspoken critic of
cable programmers owned by the major broadcast networks.
Two months ago, Commisso promised to freeze rates for one year if programming
suppliers did likewise.
In a Federal Communications Commission filing Wednesday, Mediacom used the
agency's review of broadcast-ownership rules to portray cable networks owned by
NBC, The Walt Disney Co., Viacom Inc. and News Corp. as aggressive rate-hikers
that scheme to make cable MSOs take the heat for rising cable rates.
Mediacom -- the eighth-largest cable company, with 1.5 million subscribers --
said that if the FCC allows TV-station groups with cable-network holdings to
reach more than 35 percent of TV households, the agency should impose several
conditions when those companies seek license transfer approvals.
Following are some of Mediacom's recommendations:
\u0007 A TV-station/cable-network owner must charge all cable operators the same
price for a cable network unless a cost-based need is shown.
\u0007 Cable operators may offer a la carte any cable network with a tier fee that
would be double the average per-channel cost of the other channels in the
\u0007 TV-station/cable-network owners may elect only must-carry, and they may not
bundle the sale of cable networks "overtly or through pricing schemes that make
individual carriage uneconomic."
\u0007 Bar TV-station/cable-network owners from imposing gag clauses that bar
disclosure of rates and terms in programming contracts.