Rocco Commisso, chairman of small cable TV operator Mediacom, has spoken out on what he saw as a misunderstanding by FCC Commissioner Julius Genachowski on how common retransmission consent disputes continue to be.
The FCC Commish had suggested that such disputes, or at least disputes that threatened blackouts for TV viewers, were on the decline because the FCC had made progress in encouraging fair negotiations by setting up a notice of proposed rulemaking on the matter. However, Commisso said it may appear that once heated disputes have cooled only because small cable TV operators may feel they have no recourse but to pay the fees demanded by broadcasters.
Commisso suggested that the FCC should still rein in the ability for networks to bargain collectively, or at least allow smaller operators to designate large operators to negotiate for them.
It once did seem like retransmission disputes were creating daily headlines in the cable TV industry. If they are still occurring as frequently as before, and cable TV operators are eating increases that they eventually pass along to their customers, it is clear that the broadcasters still hold the upper hand in the industry and that regulators may be easily convinced otherwise.
- read this Broadcasting & Cable story
The FCC said last summer it would review retransmission consent fees
Mediacom paid LIN TV fees after an extended retrans dispute