Kerry: Disney, Cablevision Must Put Consumers First
WASHINGTON , D.C. – Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), Chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet, released the following statement after millions of television consumers awoke to dark television screens this morning.
Last week, Kerry sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski urging the FCC to help resolve the current broadcasting dispute between Cablevision Systems and the Walt Disney Company. Early this morning, ABC was pulled from millions of Cablevision subscribers as the two companies failed to reach an agreement.
“Early this morning and just ahead of the Oscars, ABC pulled its channel from Cablevision customers because the two companies cannot agree on the value of the signal,” said Sen. Kerry. “It’s neither my place nor my goal to pick sides in this dispute, my concern as Chairman of the Communications Subcommittee is that this morning three million households, including many who will not know where to get a digital receiver today or how to install it, will find that a service they pay for monthly is not delivering what was promised.
“What bothers me is that these consumers are collateral damage in a fight between two companies. I strongly urge these two companies to sit down and find a way for the signal to be restored today and negotiate in good faith. If a true impasse is reached, then I urge the parties to seek the assistance of the FCC to resolve it or enter into arbitration.
“When pulling a signal becomes the nuclear option in negotiation, it inflicts collateral damage on consumers who pay their bills and have done nothing wrong. Someone needs to be speaking up for them in this dispute and those like them, and make no mistake, this is the latest example of consumers getting caught in the middle because the high stakes incentives created in these negotiations are not working for the average customer who just expects their programming to be there when they want it.”
Kerry to Cablevision and Disney: Let the grown-ups at the FCC handle this if you can’t