Cablevision Comments on FCC Action to Address 'Good Faith' Negotiations in Retransmission Consent and Reduce Threat of Programming Blackouts
BETHPAGE, N.Y., March 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Cablevision Systems Corp., (NYSE: CVC) today issued the following statement regarding the important decision by the Federal Communications Commission to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on retransmission consent:
"The FCC's Notice Of Proposed Rulemaking is an important first step for consumers, because it recognizes that consumers are the ones who are harmed when programming is pulled – or threatened to be pulled – from cable systems," said Tom Rutledge, Cablevision's Chief Operating Officer. "The FCC has signaled its plans to examine certain broadcaster practices in retransmission consent negotiations – including the impacts of Most Favored Nation agreements and exactly what it means for a broadcaster to negotiate in 'good faith.'"
Cablevision has outlined three reforms to the requirement of "good faith" negotiations that would protect consumers by significantly reducing the threat of programming blackouts. These reforms offer a market-based approach to resolving such disputes, without the need for heavy regulatory intervention. The company said it would underscore the importance and consumer benefits of each reform as essential to "good faith" negotiations, in its planned comments back to the Commission as part of the NPRM.
Forbid tying – limit retransmission consent agreements to the carriage of broadcast channels so that the actual cost of the broadcast station is clear.
Require transparency – end the practice of programmers keeping the cost of carrying secret. Retransmission fees should be public.
Forbid discrimination – allow broadcasters to set the price of carriage, but do not allow them to discriminate among cable and satellite providers based on size.
"Arbitration is necessary only in a broken market," Rutledge added. "If these policies are adopted, consumers would be protected and binding arbitration would be a largely unnecessary solution."
Cablevision Systems Corporation is one of the nation's leading telecommunications, media and entertainment companies. In addition to delivering its Optimum-branded cable, Internet, and voice offerings throughout the New York area, the company owns and operates cable systems serving homes in four Western states. Cablevision's local media properties include News 12 Networks, MSG Varsity and Newsday Media Group. Cablevision's assets also include Rainbow Media Holdings LLC and its programming and entertainment businesses, AMC, IFC, Sundance Channel, WE tv and IFC Entertainment, as well as Clearview Cinemas. Additional information about Cablevision is available on the Web at www.cablevision.com.
SOURCE Cablevision Systems Corp.