ATVA Has Questions for Broadcasters Attending the NAB Show in Las Vegas

Running Ads to Stimulate Thinking

 WASHINGTON, D.C.  April 16, 2012 – While networks and TV station executives enjoy the NAB Show in Las Vegas this week, ATVA has some questions for their consideration:

1. Do you think it’s time for a fresh look at the retransmission consent  rules to determine if they’re still serving consumers and have kept up with the technological evolution of the last twenty years?  One session at the NAB conference is “The Future of Broadcast TV.”  Since 1992, we have seen transformational technological changes in how consumers view television, while the regulations remain static and unchanged.

2. Are broadcasters exploiting government regulations that restrict the free market? The current government regulations force pay-TV companies to carry local stations, give them preferential treatment on channel placement and force carriage of the stations on the lowest tier of service.  They also prevent the pay-TV companies from making a deal with out-of-market affiliates to carry stations in the event of a blackout.   That doesn’t sound like a free market. 

3. Do you agree that blacking out viewers is the “ultimate leverage” in retrans negotiations and “the sky’s the limit” on fees?   That’s what CBS CEO Les Moonves said last year at the Nomura Securities Summit.

 To get the broadcasters thinking about their answers, ATVA is running this ad in the Las Vegas Review Journal with a picture of a dinosaur and the headline:  “Rules so old, they’re pre-Jurassic.”  The text of the ad says: “Remember that megahit dinosaur movie from 19 years ago? Sadly, it’s been even longer since Congress updated retransmission consent rules. Think of all the programming and technology that’s been created since then. Yet, the retransmission rules remain vintage 1992 — and completely in favor of broadcasters, not the viewing public. It’s time Congress and the FCC entered the 21st century on this issue. Because the era when only three big networks roamed the earth is, well, extinct.”   You can view the ad here.

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