FCC moves closer to Cablevision-Fox dispute, but still not close enough for Public Knowledge

The cable industry's worst nightmare might be evolving right in front of their eyes. The FCC, slow to move, cautious when it does, is actually starting to approach the issue of retransmission and the ongoing catfight between Cablevision Systems (NYSE: CVC) and News Corp.'s (Nasdaq: NWSA) Fox Networks, including mulling the possibility of reimbursing subscribers for missed programming.

Comcast Chairman-CEO Brian Roberts yesterday suggested that if and when the FCC ever gets around to approving the MSO's $30 billion acquisition of NBC Universal, the merged cable provider-broadcaster could be a steadying force in the retrans space.

FCC actions for now are being deliberated in secret and hardly fast enough to please Harold Feld, legal director of Public Knowledge, who urged the Commission to adopt a more aggressive stance.

"The FCC actually has fairly strong statutory authority to take action," Feld wrote. "So while (FCC Chairman) Julius Genachowski is in a bind, he can actually fix the problem. He even has a vehicle all teed up and waiting in the form of our (Public Knowledge) petition to change the retransmission consent rules."

This being a blog item and all, Feld also went off the charts a bit and, and paraphrased Delaware Republican Senate Candidate Christine O'Donnell (she who denies her witchy background) that Genachowski don some "man pants" as a trade-in to his "existing arsenal (which) consists of a little toy sword, a fez and really baggy Palace Eunuch pants."

For more:
- see this story
- and this blog

Related articles:
The heat goes on: Cablevision offers deal, Fox rejects it
Roberts: Wearing two hats could make Comcast a peacemaker in retrans disputes
FCC, investors keeping an eye on Disney-Time Warner Cable conflict
Retransmission review at hand, FCC chief says

Suggested Articles

NCTC and Imagine Communications are working together on ad tech for broadcasters, content owners, MVPDs and virtual MVPDs.

Thanks to some recent data drops from Google and Disney, the scope of the virtual MVPD market in the U.S. is coming into sharper focus.

Sinclair’s new regional sports network with exclusive TV access to the Chicago Cubs has slid into a distribution deal with Hulu + Live TV.