Momentum Grows for Retrans Reform

Hearing Shows Widespread Support for Updated Rules

Washington D.C. June 27, 2012 – Today’s Communications and Technology Subcommittee hearing on the future of video showed continued momentum to reform retransmission consent rules established in 1992. As a coalition representing consumer groups, cable, satellite, telephone companies and independent programmers, the American Television Alliance is encouraged by the continued acknowledgement that the rules governing the video marketplace are out of date.

 “The broadcaster still maintains a government sanctioned monopoly on network programming in his market, while pay-TV providers face stiff competition from one another,”  said Charlie Ergen, Chairman of DISH. “The result is almost always bad for consumers and the free market.”

The clear message from today’s hearing – reform is needed.  The chorus of supporters included a bipartisan array of lawmakers who either mentioned retrans specifically or at the very least called for the 1992 Cable Act to be updated. 

The past few decades have brought tremendous changes to how consumers view broadcast programming, how it is marketed and how it is delivered, yet the rules have stayed the same for twenty years.  We have see growing support of retrans reform, beginning with FCC’s approval of a new rulemaking on retransmission consent, Rep. Steve Scalise and Sen. Jim DeMint’s introduction of the Next Generation TV Marketplace Act bill and today’s hearing.  

The message is clear – reform is needed!  ATVA looks forward to working with Congress to make the necessary changes to modernize these rules and protect consumers.

 ATVA stands with the growing number of lawmakers and industry experts calling for regulatory reform. It’s time to update these regulations, particularly on retransmission consent, to address the changes and serve consumers. We urge the Senate and House to hold more hearings to assess the situation and consider needed reforms. 

For more on how the marketplace has changed since the 1992 Communications Act, click here.

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