Retrans policy debate: Suddenlink's Kent says both sides should show pricing practices

Continuing an ongoing rhetorical battle to shape retransmission consent policy, Suddenlink Communications chairman and CEO Jerry Kent has suggested that both pay TV operators and broadcasters make their pricing practices transparent to regulators.

Jerry Kent

Kent (Image source: Suddenlink)

In a letter sent to House and Senate committee leaders Monday, and obtained by Multichannel News, Kent said that his cable service would welcome a government inquiry into its pricing practices, as long as program license fee increases by content suppliers were also examined.

"I'm confident that an unbiased examination would conclude that wholesale programming and retransmission consent fee increases, which are growing at several multiples of the inflation rate, are the biggest video threat to the American consumer," Kent wrote.

Kent was reacting to a June 10 letter sent to the same congressional leaders by TVFreedom, a group backed by the major broadcast networks, asking the government to examine pay TV pricing.

With both sides trying to influence lawmakers in the run-up to retransmission content policy changes, TVFreedom's letter drew a response from Mediacom's Thomas Larsen just three days later, which blamed skyrocketing retransmission fees for escalating consumer pay TV pricing.

Kent reiterated that claim in his letter Monday, calling TVFreedom's letter "cynically designed to deflect attention away from the anti-consumer implications of rapidly increasing wholesale programming fees and carriage requirements."

For more:
- read this Multichannel News story

Related links:
Mediacom responds to TVFreedom: 'Broadcasters hiding the truth' on retrans
Broadcasters ramp up retrans battle, ask Congress to investigate pay TV pricing
TV interest groups rise to fight the retransmission wars