Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) said Wednesday there’s no further need to investigate allegations that top cable companies illegally colluded in a decision not to pay broadcasters retransmission consent coin.
Separate cable channels
Inouye, who chairs the Senate communications subcommittee, said reports that all the major television networks are now discussing formation of separate cable channels makes the retrans investigation unnecessary.
“The matter is moot now,” said Inouye. “The networks and cable operators have apparently resolved the matter.”
Inouye last month fired off letters to top cable companies questioning the “tactical and semantic uniformity” among top exex who were refusing to pay straight cash for broadcast signals.
In the missive, Inouye said he was considering holding hearings on the subject and noted he was asking the U.S. Dept. of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission to study the matter.
Inouye, who sponsored the controversial retrans provision that was included in the 1992 Cable Act, said Wednesday he will not press Justice and the FTC to carry out the probe.
Inouye’s decision to drop the issue comes less than two weeks after CBS became the final network to announce that it is discussing formation of a cable channel.
CBS lobbied hardest for retransmission consent and had previously insisted on straight cash for its O&O stations. The decision not to pursue a federal antitrust probe will come as good news to top cable company exex, who have steadfastly maintained their no-cash positions were reached unilaterally.