Read the Petition to the FCC on Retransmission Consent
The Commission’s regulations governing retransmission consent- which were created nearly 20 years ago- are outdated and causing consumer harm. As broadcasters now demand significant cash for carriage of their signals, consumers are held hostage as MVPDs must choose between a rock and a hard place; pay spiraling carriage fees and raise consumer rates, or be forced by broadcasters to drop local signals. the recurring threats of blackout, high-stakes public “showdown” negotiations, and recent economic analyses have all confirmed what programming distributors have known for years; the retransmission consent regime is broken. In light of this consumer harm, and given substantial changes in the media landscape since the retransmission consent regime was first created, it is time to take a new look at the rules that have given rise to this problem. ABC’s recent withdrawal of its programming from three million Cablevision subscribers in New York- which briefly interfered with the broadcast of the Academy Awards and caused significant frustration and confusion for consumers- is only the latest illustration of the urgent need for reform. As Senator Kerry recently wrote to chairman Genachowski, “the retransmission consent regime has become outdated in the 18 years since is was crafted,” and this regime is now causing “consumer uncertainty, higher prices, and broadcasters using special events as leverage in negotiations.” Accordingly, pursuant to 47 C.F.R § 1.401, the petitioning parties respectfully petition the Commission to amend and supplement its rules governing retransmission consent as set forth herein.