The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and many in Congress are currently evaluating whether it’s time to update rules written nearly 20 years ago. In March 2010, Time Warner Cable and 13 other parties* filed a petition with the FCC asking it to re-examine the rules governing retransmission consent negotiations. Those parties—which include cable, satellite, and telephone companies that compete against each other vigorously in the market to deliver you video services, as well as consumer groups and independent programmers—agree that there should be a level playing field for distributors and broadcasters so that consumers continue enjoying popular programming at a reasonable price without the threat of service disruption.
It is rare for the FCC or Congress to get involved in individual negotiations between programmers and cable companies. They typically take a hands-off approach to retransmission consent, although sometimes members of Congress will make public comments in an effort to re-energize negotiations so their constituents don’t face programming blackouts. Overall, government intervention in retransmission consent has been minimal over the past few years.
To learn more about retransmission consent or to join the discussion, visit TWCConversations.com.
* Including satellite provider DirecTV, telephone companies AT&T and Verizon, as well as other cable companies including Cablevision, Insight Communications, and the American Cable Association, which represents many small cable operators