As many of you already know, due to an old 1992 law, Cable TV providers like Butler-Bremer Communications must get permission from broadcasters in order to carry their programming. Every three years we have to “renegotiate” the terms of these agreements.
However, there is very little negotiation about it. Broadcasters use retransmission laws to demand huge rate hikes and force unwanted channels into our programming lineups. If we don’t agree to their demands, they will blackout your channels.
Like many other TV providers, we wrapped up our retransmission consent negotiations at the end of 2017. And as anticipated, the outcome is frustrating. As the American Cable Association or ACA (an organization representing small cable providers) put it, “ Once again, consumers will be paying the price for the broadcaster’s greed.”
How much greed? According to the ACA, broadcasters have demanded high double and triple-digit percent increases in exchange for the “right” to provide their free broadcast signals to our customers.
According to an article in Fierce Cable last month, NBC pulled in $850 million in retransmission consent revenues in 2016 and will take in $1.4 billion this year. They are shooting for 2.5 billion by 2020. CBS is shooting for the same 2.5 billion by 2020.Tripling the fees they charge over just 4 years is just nuts!
As a small TV provider in rural America, we have little negotiating power with the large corporate media conglomerations . Although we do our best to keep your prices as low as possible and keep their programs on the air for you, we cannot fully absorb these cost increases and stay in business. We agree with the ACA when they say “…the real victims of the broadcaster’s greed are consumers who will see cable subscription rates go up in 2018. Don’t blame cable, blame the broadcasters.”
According to a recent survey by the ACA, these were just a few of the comments about retransmissioin consent negotiations from other small rural TV providers like us:
“Cable companies have little to no negotiating power on rates.”
“Extreme bullying and take it or leave it attitude.”
“They are inflexible – there is no negotiation.”
“…This is unsustainable and consumers will lose in the end.”
“The entire process of retransmission consent gives broadcasters all of the power and is anticompetitive.”
“They are hurting consumers and putting jobs at risk as small cable fights to survive.”
“We are in a no-win situation and cannot control rate hikes.”
We appreciate your support and your business. For more information about retransmission consent, go to www.TVOnMySide.com