Consumer group: retransmission fees four times higher than inflation

Broadcasters are raising retransmission consent fees at four times the rate of inflation and exerting undue market power over even the largest pay TV service providers, an American Consumer Institute (ACI) Center for Citizen Research "ConsumerGram" concludes.

"Based on the high and rising prices for over-the-air programming, it is clear that distributors are at a disadvantage when it comes to negotiating with broadcasters. This means that consumers are the big losers of retransmission consent-both by potential blackouts and paying higher prices for years to come," wrote Steve Pociask, president of the nonprofit research institute.

The ACI determination based its conclusion on data that show programming costs rising at a compound annual rate of 11 percent compared to general inflation of 2.6.

"Less than 10 percent of households now exclusively watch over-the-air television," the report says. "If data suggests that programming costs are, in fact, increasing faster than other cable TV costs, this suggests the presence of market power in the hands of broadcasters and pubic policy gone awry."

For more:
- see the ACI's ConsumerGram (PDF)

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