While we are waiting for the full text of the FCC’s decision taken Monday on the multiple ownership rules, rolling one Quadrennial Review into another and prohibiting most Joint Sales Agreements, we can look in more detail at the FCC’s decision on retransmission consent issues. We wrote about the historical background of both of these issues earlier this week. When that is finally released, the full text of the decision will give us the details of the multiple ownership decision. But the Commission has released the full text of its decision prohibiting two independently owned Top 4 TV stations in the same market from jointly negotiating retransmission consent agreements, and starting a further proceeding to look at whether the network non-duplication and syndicated exclusivity rules should be abolished.
The restriction on the joint negotiation of retransmission consent agreements was founded on the FCC’s sense that such joint negotiations gave the negotiating stations too much power in their negotiations with cable systems and other multichannel video providers. The Commissioners concluded that this meant that TV stations engaged in such joint negotiations could get more money from cable systems than they could get if they negotiated independently. While the statements made by the Commissioners at Monday’s open meeting suggested that such negotiating power led to higher rates paid by consumers, the evidence cited by the Commission was principally based on theoretical arguments by economists as to the ability of jointly-negotiating stations to get these high rates. What specifically did the FCC prohibit?
Continue Reading Details of the FCC Decision Prohibiting the Joint Negotiation of Retransmission Consent By Local TV Stations and Starting Proceeding to Examine Syndex and Network Nonduplication Protections