NAB Blames 3 TV Cos. For Retrans Blackouts

Looking to further identify the problems with retransmission deals, the National Association of Broadcasters has taken out a print ad targeting three TV network distributors.

The NAB said three companies -- Time Warner Cable, Dish, and DirecTV -- are responsible for 90% of the fallout from retransmission consent negotiations that have resulted in TV blackouts of TV stations and/or cable networks. 

The print ad is running in key Washington, D.C. publications, and is titled “Who’s the problem? 90 percent is Time Warner Cable, Dish and DirecTV.”

Graphically, the ad features large type featuring the number “90” with the names of Time Warner Cable, Dish, and DirecTV repeated in the background.

The NAB says: “The great majority of the time, retransmission consent negotiations between TV providers (such as cable and satellite) and local stations are successfully negotiated with no fanfare or disruption in service for viewers.” It goes on to say that 90% of “viewer disruptions” comes from three companies: Time Warner Cable, DirecTV and Dish.

“Agreements that have worked for all the other guys don’t fly with these big three TV providers, who put their political agendas before viewers to encourage government intervention in a free market process.... Keep the process fair.”

However, other organizations, like the American Cable Association, believe the retransmission market doesn’t work -- especially in light of the month-long CBS-Time Warner dispute.

Matthew Polka, president/CEO of the American Cable Association, stated: “The point that no one should miss is that CBS' massive blackout of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks showed that the retransmission consent market is broken and outdated rules governing these negotiations need to be updated to reflect current market conditions.”

He added: “If CBS can leave millions of pay-TV viewers in the dark for 32 days, no one can say with a straight face that the marketplace is working well for consumers.”

"Watching TV" photo from Shutterstock.



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