ACA, indie programmers tell FCC’s Pai to make channel unbundling a priority

The ACA wants the FCC to restrict large pay-TV operators from entering into unconditional “most favored nation” contracts with programmers.

Seizing the day on regime change at the FCC, the American Cable Association has joined several indie programmers in asking the agency to make the unbundling of channels a top priority. 

The ACA and its partners say the FCC should restrict large pay-TV operators from entering into unconditional “most favored nation” (MFN) contracts with programmers. The group also wants the FCC to examine MFN demands from broadcasters, as well as to restrict “unreasonable” alternative distribution method (ADM) deals. 

These dealmaking schemes raise the price of programming for smaller MVPDs, squeeze indie programmers out of the marketplace, and harm the FCC’s quest for diversity, the ACA argues.

Sponsored by Google Cloud

Webinar: Remote Post Production In The Cloud

Video production companies across the world have traditionally been tethered to physical facilities, but with the advent of covid-19, remote post production capabilities are more important than ever. Join this webinar to learn more about how video producers can utilize Google Cloud infrastructure, along with partner applications, to develop a remote post production suite that brings your artists and editors together, no matter where they are.

"The FCC's proposed regulations of unconditional MFN and unreasonable ADM provisions can represent positive steps towards improving the availability of independent programming,” said ACA President and CEO Matthew Polka, in a statement. 

“The diversity interests identified by the FCC, however, cannot be meaningfully protected without regulations addressing the unreasonable bundling practices of large programmers. ACA urges the FCC to include regulations limiting forced bundling by programmers in the rules adopted through this proceeding,” he added. 

RELATED: Cable One exec: Congress must ‘repeal and replace’ retrans rules

The ACA joined idie programmers MavTV, Motorsports Network, One America News Network and Ride TV in petitioning the FCC. The agency is in transition, with Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai taking over as chairman for Democrat Tom Wheeler. 

With a new chairman stepping in, it is a busy time for lobbying orgs like the ACA, which earlier this week sent another round of communications volleys, urging the agency not to relax broadcast station ownership rules. 


Suggested Articles

While overall OTT subscription uptake has seen a significant increase during the COVID-19 crisis, vMVPDs have continued to experience slow growth.

You don't need a subscription to binge-watch Apple TV+, but you will need a boarding pass on American Airlines instead.

President Trump blessed a move by Microsoft to buy the popular video app TikTok's U.S. operations.