Retransmission consent key to programmer lobbying efforts

When it came to spending money for lobbying, programmers were apparently on the same page and at about the same spot on their financial sheets in the first quarter. The money went to influence power brokers in Washington, D.C. on issues ranging from retransmission consent to incentive auctions for unused broadcast spectrum; payouts ranged from a low of $853,000 by Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) to $1.62 million by CBS (NYSE: CBS), according to first quarter figures recently released.

In between, Viacom (NYSE: VIA) spent $1.1 million; Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) spent $1.4 million and News Corp. (Nasdaq: NWSA) doled out $1.57 million, almost all of it on retrans issues, although Time Warner and Viacom were interested in online piracy and Disney, News Corp. and CBS wanted a say on the FCC's proposed incentive spectrum auctions.

Everybody's spending was up over the fourth quarter and the same quarter a year ago, with CBS almost doubling what it spent in the fourth quarter and Time Warner barely topping that figure.

For more:
- see Forbes.com quarterly updates including this story
- and this story
- this story
- this story
- and this story

Related articles:
Comments in hand, FCC ready to referee the retrans war
Spectrum incentive auctions proposal clears Senate committee

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