Consumer groups want protection from broadcaster-cable retrans squabbles

Three media watchdog groups--the Parents Television Council, Consumers Union and Free Press--would like some protection from the FCC in the event of future cable-broadcaster retransmission battles.

To carry it further, the group has opened a slimy can of worms by suggesting a form of a la carte subscription where subscribers could opt out paying for or viewing channels carried as part of a bundled retransmission agreement and get a discount for the refused channels.

"Cable customers should get what they pay for instead of being held at the mercy of these disputes between the cable companies and the broadcasters," said Joel Kelsey of Consumers Union. "Consumers should be able to choose their channels and they should get a refund when they lose access to the channels they pay for."

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