NAB : Let's Keep Gov't Out of Retrans

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As the October retransmission-consent season approaches, and in an apparent effort to counter efforts by distributors, The National Association of Broadcasters wrote a letter to Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski Monday, assuring the agency head that its members are committed to reaching timely agreements with multichannel video distributors.
In a brief letter to Genachowski, who has been under pressure from cable operators to reform the retrans laws, NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith, said that his members are guided by three principals when it comes to retrans: a desire to serve local audiences; a need to negotiate fair compensation that supports quality programming and a belief that negotiations should remain private and market based.
In other words, basically the opposite of what cable operators, especially Mediacom Communications in its recent correspondence with the FCC, have been asking for.
In his letter Smith noted that broadcasters have negotiated thousands of retrans agreements in the past, affecting hundreds of stations and millions of viewers, without government intervention.
"I call on the parties to stay focused on concluding agreements through marketplace negotiations, rather than through calls for unnecessary government intervention or overheated rhetoric in company press releases," Smith wrote. "Even indications of government intervention in these private market based negotiations can impede their progress and slow their completion. The mere prospect of government intervention introduces uncertainty and distorts incentives in ways that disrupt the bargaining process and only make it more difficult to reach fair and equitable arrangements."