Says Broadcast Media Conglomerates Taking Lion’s Share of Fees

1992 Rules Meet 2011 Reality

Washington D.C.  November 2, 2011   Television viewers in Chattanooga and Reno woke up Tuesday to find that local affiliates in their cities had pulled the plug in order to gain leverage in a retransmission consent negotiation.  According to DISH Network, station owner Sarkes Tazian has demanded a 288% rate increase in fees.  

Along with giving consumers the blackout blues, the broadcasters are also eliminating one of their rationales for retransmission consent – supporting local broadcasters and “localism.”   According to a new report, the broadcast media conglomerates are taking more and more money from affiliates in “reverse compensation.”   SNL Kagan predicts that the network take of retrans money will double from “just nearly $500 million in 2012 to over $1 billion by 2014.”  

The time is long past due for the FCC and Congress to revisit and reform the whole retransmission consent regime.  These 1992 rules are failing the 2011 reality.

NOTE:  The blacked out stations are NBC affiliate WRCB (Chattanooga) and CBS affiliate KTVN (Reno).