Legislation Introduced to Overhaul Retransmission Consent Rules

Legislation Introduced to Overhaul Retransmission Consent

Two separate pieces of legislation were introduced in Congress on Thursday that would upend retransmission consent negotiations, which have stirred lawmakers after consumers have found broadcast channels blacked out over extended periods.

Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) introduced the Video CHOICE Act, which would give the FCC authority to grant interim carriage of a broadcast station during a negotiation impasse. Their legislation also would prohibit a TV broadcast station from using cable channels they own as bargaining chips in a negotiation. A subscriber also would be able to buy cable TV service without subscribing to broadcast stations that elect to collect retransmission fees.

Eshoo unveiled draft legislation in September, shortly after a high-profile, month-long standoff that saw Time Warner Cable pull CBS-owned stations from its lineup as negotiations reached an impasse.

“My bill would put an end to broadcast television blackouts and ensure consumers aren’t held hostage by a dispute they have no control over, ” Eshoo said in a statement. “Recurring TV blackouts coupled with the rising cost of broadcast television programming has left consumers frustrated and looking to Congress and the FCC for answers.”

Meanwhile, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) reintroduced the Next Generation Television Marketplace Act. Rather than give the FCC more authority, their bill would loosen and overhaul regulations across the board. It would repeal the 1992 Communications Act’s retransmission consent provisions as well as the 1976 Copyright Act’s compulsory copyright provision. The retrans rules require that cable and satellite operators get permission from broadcasters before carrying their signals, and it has resulted in a lucrative revenue stream for the networks and local stations.

Scalise’s bill also would repeal local media ownership limits.

Both bills face long odds, but their reflect the increasingly contentious debate in Washington, as cable and satellite providers step up their lobbying for reform of retransmission consent rules they say favor broadcasters.

Broadcasters defend the current regime of retransmission negotiations by pointing out that the vast majority of cases do produce TV blackouts and are settled quietly.

Gordon Smith, CEO of the National Assn. of Broadcasters, said in a statement that the two bills are “utterly inconsistent with each other,” and said that they “find it sad that pay TV companies who built their broadband, voice and video businesses on the backs of local TV signals now balk at the notion of paying a fair market rate for the most-watched programming on television.”

The American Cable Assn., which represents smaller and medium sized cable companies, praised the two bills. They said that the Video Choice Act “will provide relief to consumers harmed by outdated retransmission consent rules that broadcasters’ relentlessly abuse, highlighted by a record number of TV signal blackouts and escalating price demands well in excess of inflation.” And they said that the Scalise bill “will set the stage for replacing archaic laws and regulations with a fresh set of policies that will truly serve the public interest.”

Time Warner Cable also welcomed the legislation. “While the bills take different approaches to addressing the broken retransmission consent system, it is clear that both Democrats and Republicans recognize the escalating harm to consumers,” the company said.

Eshoo is ranking member of a House subcommittee on communications and technology, and Scalise is a member. Lofgren is a member of the House Judiciary Committee.

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  1. jamesjimcie says:

    Here’s my own opinion and theory to retransmission consent:

    This is an excuse for the broadcasters and broadcasting groups and all of their head executives wanting to try to be way too big being the Bonnie and Clyde’s, the Wal-Mart’s, the Marlboro’s, the Joe Camel’s, the Paramount Pictures with the movie theater chain of the 1910-1940’s, the Morris Levy’s when he was part of Roulette Records, the Clive Davis’s when he was at Columbia Records in the 1970′s, the Neil Bogart’s of Casablanca Records fame of the 1970′s disco era, the Trinity Broadcasting Network’s, the David Smith (one of the Smith brothers from Sinclair Broadcast Group), the Perry Sock and the Nexstar Broadcasting Group, the Harry Pappas as part of the Pappas Telecasting Companies, the Bernard Madoff’s, the Lehman Borthers, the Enron’s, the Worldcom’s, the Adelphia’s, the Tyco’s, the Martha Stewart’s, the Jill Kelley’s, the Orie sister’s, the Teresa and Joe Giudice’s, the Jesse Jackson Jr’s, and the Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of the 2000′s by letting broadcast greed get out of control so all of the head employees and bosses at the broadcasting groups to be able to enjoy carefree lavishly spending to support carefree lavishly lifestyles with embezzlement with ponzi schemes, luxurious homes, luxurious jets, luxurious cars, luxurious furs, luxurious jewelry, join luxurious clubs, go on to luxurious vacations, luxurious resorts and beaches, go to luxurious bars, go to luxurious hotels, go to luxurious casinos to do gambling, go to luxurious gold courses, go to horse races, throw luxurious parties, go to luxurious dinners, go to luxurious fundraisers, go to luxurious conventions, lobbying at the FCC and other government agencies in Washington, DC to claim that the retransmission consent payment is working and make dealing with cable and satellite too difficult for them to carry the local stations, go to luxurious amusements parks including Disneyland and Walt Disney World, involved with drugs, and have other luxurious items just to make them very happy then trying and willingness to improve the quality of all the stations they owned and control and making the viewers happy as well. I hope and I wish that the broadcasters and all of their head executives get scolded by both by the ACA and the FCC for making the viewers being forced to deal with blackouts because they could not make a deal to get the stations back to it’s customers sooner and with a fair deal with cable and satellite. I hope and I wish that the broadcasters and all of their head executives is barred from buying and owning anymore TV stations in the future after their final decision to remove the stations from cable and satellite. I feel that the broadcasters and all of their head executives are trying to bribe like the Vietnam War, the General Tire/RKO General of the 1960′s and 1970′s, and the Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal of the 1970’s by not being very honest of not only the viewers by making them miss the shows on cable and satellite and also on themselves with the force of demanding cable and satellite to pay up in the retransmission consent to continue to carry the stations by engaging in 1910-1940 era Paramount Pictures block booking style type of tying behavior practices to abuse and misuse the retransmission consent payment option to force cable and satellite to carry digital subchannels that cable and satellite isn’t interested in carrying in order for carriage of carrying the main station, force cable and satellite to carry stations in markets where cable and satellite isn’t interested in carrying in order of carriage of carrying the stations in markets where cable and satellite is interested in carrying at all, help fund and pay for other broadcast stations that cable and satellite operators don’t carry in areas where they don’t serve at all, fund stations the broadcaster owns for another broadcasting group connected to the same person connecting to the ownership on the TV station unrelated to the retransmission mission dispute, fund stations that are not yet on the air, fund stations that they are considering thinking about acquiring or have yet to complete the purchase of a single station or purchase of multiple stations they’re acquiring from a broadcasting group or from a competing broadcasting group, and fund to pay for stations they manage in a JSA/LMA/SSA agreement with another owner or a competing broadcasting group.

    I hope and I wish that the FCC would force the broadcasters and all of their head executives to allow cable and satellite to carry it’s stations without any interference, in the event the broadcasters and all of their head executives fails to allow cable and satellite to carry it’s stations again, then the FCC would have no choice but to force the broadcasters and all of their head executives to allow cable and satellite to import out of market stations that are very real close to the station being blacked out being affiliated with the same network, in the event the broadcasters and all of their head executives fails to allow cable and satellite to import out of market stations that are very real close to the station being blacked out being affiliated with the same network, then the FCC would have no choice but to allow cable and satellite to carry the out of market station with the same affiliation without any restrictions and also be allowed to continue to carry the out of market station that it’s digital television signal is reachable by a outdoor antenna including both it’s SD and HD feeds on the cable and satellite service system even after the dispute is over without any interference for 12 whole years to meet FCC rules and regulators with very strong aggressive and very overly protective regulatory close stiffest rigorous oversight supervision, and in the event the broadcasters and all of their head executives fails to surrender, give up, and forfeit control of all the stations they owned and control and then the FCC would have no choice but to allow all the broadcasters be allowed to manage any of the stations the broadcasters and all of their head executives fails to surrender, give up, and forfeit control of all the stations they owned and control until a lot suitable broadcaster be found to purchase any of the stations the broadcasters and all of their head executives they owned and control with all the broadcasters being required to make a real big concession that they would promised not to have any difficulties with all the cable and satellite operators when making deals to carry stations without any interference and promised to tell what is they’re intent on how they’re planning on what to do with the retransmission consent money and what they’re gonna planned to spend it on for 12 whole years to meet FCC rules and regulators with very strong aggressive and very overly protective regulatory close stiffest rigorous oversight supervision.

    This is an excuse for the broadcasters and broadcasting groups and all of their head executives wanting to be too big being way too busy trying to act like the Justin Bieber’s, the Miley Cyrus’s, the Baauer’s, the PSY’s, the Carly Rae Jepsen’s, the Tay Allyn’s, the Alison Gold’s, the Nicole Westbrook’s, the Rebecca Black’s, the Double Take’s, and the Guns N Roses Axl Rose as well as trying to be the Bonnie and Clyde’s, the Conrad Murray’s, the Pete Rose’s and the Alex Rodriguez’s as the cheaters, the Jerry Sandusky’s as the assaulters, the Lee Harvey Oswald’s, the Jodi Arias’s, the Casey Anthony’s, the Charles Starkweather’s, the Charles Manson’s, the Lyle and Erik Menendez’s, the O. J. Simpson’s, the Scott Peterson’s, and the Drew Peterson’s as the greedy murderers, the Alfonzo Dennard’s, the Jeremy Dobbe’s, the Jeffery Ireland’s (Lincoln, Nebraska), the Otis Newcomb’s, the Amanda Bynes’s and the Lindsay Lohan’s as the drunk and the drug life people) the Ferris Bueller’s, the Gordon Gekko’s, the Victoria Grayson’s, the Victor Newman’s/the Jack Abbott’s, the J. R. Ewing’s/the Cliff Barnes’s, the Charles Montgomery Burn’s/ the Mayor Quimby’s, the Homer and Bart Simpson’s, the Peter Griffin’s, the Mickey Mouse’s/the Minnie Mouse’s, the Bugs Bunny’s/the Daffy Duck’s/the Porky Pig’s, the Garfield cat’s, the Cookie Monster’s, the Miss Piggy’s, and the Pillsbury Doughboy’s, (all fictional characters) of the broadcasting industry of not coming to reach a deal with cable and satellite to carry it’s stations to the viewers with cable and satellite everyday.

    This is an excuse for the broadcasters and broadcasting groups and all of their head executives trying to turn into the Bonnie and Clyde’s, the Paramount Pictures of the 1910’s-1940’s engaging in block booking practices, the General Tire/RKO General of the 1960′s and 1970′s engaging in bribery practices, the 1919 Chicago White Sox’s baseball team and the Southern Methodist University football team of the 1980′s to force cable and satellite to accept a take it or leave it money laundering deal to carry it’s stations in a big huge ugly game of baw baw baw baw baw baw baw baw baw baw baw baw chicken.

    Cable and satellite are useful for carrying stations to inform viewers for news and weather reports and also for all minories. I feel that all of the fat cat politicians and the fat cat television broadcast station owner and parent want to see and force all of the cable and satellite operators to pay up a lot more money for the rights to carry local stations so all of the fat cat politicians and the fat cat television broadcast station owner and parent can have carefree lavish spending to fully support their endless carefree greedy piggish selfish lavish lifestyles for their own political gain by way of block booking and extortion is so very shameful and so very disgraceful in my own personal opinion and theory. I feel all the today’s fat cat politicians have never learned from various scandals happening in the past. Have those fat cat broadcasters and fat cat politicians learned from the Paramount Pictures practice of block booking with theatrical theatres of the 1910-1940’s, No, the Vietnam War, No, the General Tire/RKO General broadcasting license scandal of the 1960’s and the 1970’s, No, the Watergate scandal with Richard Nixon’s involvement, No, the Southern Methodist University football scandal of the 1980’s, No, the Pete Rose betting scandal in baseball of the late 1980’s, No, the collapse and bankruptcy of Lehman Borthers, No. These are examples of what I feel that all of the fat cat broadcasters and the fat cat politicians are trying to do to attack cable and satellite providers to pressure them to carry stations with the use of the retransmission consent payment option.

    I feel that all of the broadcasters and broadcasting groups including Sinclair with David Smith, Nexstar with Perry Sook, Gannett, Tribune, Young/Media General with George Mahoney, Cordillera, Pappas with Harry Pappas, Stainless/Northwest with Brian Brady, Mark Nalbone, and other too many to think of having the supreme dominance of forcing cable and satellite by the use of block booking in the cable industry by barring them from carrying out of market stations by only allowing them to carry their in market stations including cable systems being in markets where the in market stations is further than the out of market station that is closer to the cable system by air miles.

    People may not agree with my opinion and theory to retransmission consent buy my fear is that I feared broadcasters and broadcasting groups may abuse and misuse the retransmission consent payment option to cable/satellite/Aereo as a way for all the head executives from those broadcasting companies to use it on their habit of carefree lavish spending to support their carefree greedy piggish selfish lavish lifestyles just to make all of them happy than trying to improve the quality of all the television stations they own and manage.

    I’m for snapping and cracking down and cramping down to curb down on retransmission consent abuse and misuse.

    I encourage every cable/satellite/Aereo subscribers to join me in the fight against retransmission consent abuse and misuse:

    changeorg/petitions/president-protect-tv-viewers-from-broadcast-blackouts-and-unfair-price-increases

    americantelevisionallianceorg/

    My solutions and answers to end retransmission consent abuse and misuse is when a broadcaster pulls a station signal or multiple station signals off from any MSO 3 to 5 times within the last 5 to 10 years, fails to be very honest on how the broadcaster is suppose to be using the payments from the retransmission consent fees on what the broadcaster is paying for what the broadcasters are receiving from the MSO’s, fails to allow the MSO to restore the station signal or multiple station signals in time before the Super Bowl, the World Series, the Academy Awards, and other marque events on broadcast television is that the broadcaster can automatically receive and suffer the death penalty meaning the broadcaster can no longer get to stay in business to continue ownership of TV stations and the head of the broadcasting group can no longer be allowed to stay involved in the TV business as a way to curb down on retransmission consent abuse and misuse right now.

    This comes from a commenter responding to the dispute between Dish and Bonten:

    This is nothing new. However, it has become more of a problem as more and more people “cut the cord” and rely exclusively on the Internet to watch what they want to watch when they want to watch it. Why is this? Because the old men in suits don’t and don’t WANT to understand new business models. The carriers WERE in an excellent position pave the way toward innovative delivery technologies but refused to see the writing on the wall so now they’re panicking.
    Content providers (networks) have an extremely overinflated sense of the monetary value of their “content”. This includes mindless drivel that only appeals to the lowest common denominator such as “Jersey Shore” and “Dancing with the Stars”.

    The truth is, they’re all wrong. Today’s content viewer wants to be able to watch what they want to watch when they want to watch it. The technology exists to make this happen yet no one wearing a suit (you know, those old fashioned symbols of success that include neckties that cut off the circulation to one’s head) wants to even think about it seriously.

    Their lack of vision has forced consumers to find other ways to get the content, even illegally. Who does this hurt? Both the networks and the carriers. Why? Because today, people who illegally download content have a BETTER experience than those who view content legally. Commercials (which, until recently, were far louder than the content they were watchng) take up more and more of the air time. We’re paying for MORE channels we don’t want (why would I need Spanish channels or sports channels since I don’t speak Spanish or enjoy watching sports) while being subjected to more commercials and less content.
    I cut my proverbial pay TV cord years ago and I am so glad I did. A cheap entertainment PC connected to my television and a fast Internet connection get me everything I want with limited (or no) commercial interruption and I don’t have to pay for a bunch of channels and content I never watch.

    So hear this KRCR: You don’t get any of my money anyway. Any content you pass along from ABC is watched by other means. This goes for all of the networks you are affiliated with. You want MY money and the money of others to help you “survive”? Invest in the infrastructure to make your content available when others want to watch it. It’s happening and the number of people cutting their pay TV cord will only get larger. Adapt. Don’t extort your way to survival.

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