WASHINGTON, DC - In response to the introduction by Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) of a draft bill related to retransmission consent rules, the following statement can be attributed to NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith:
"I have great personal affection for ranking minority member Eshoo and have long admired her thoughtful approach to legislating. I am therefore surprised by the pro-pay TV slant of her retransmission consent draft bill, which could embolden pay-TV giants to continue to game the system rather than negotiate in the free market for programming most valuable to viewers.
"Fundamentally, there is no such thing as a 'black-out' of broadcast TV programming. Our programming is always on, and always available to viewers on multiple platforms, including free to over-the-air antenna households.
"Our overriding goal is to increase viewer access to broadcast programming. A truly 'pro-consumer' bill would ask whether Time Warner Cable's attempts to restrict that access to only its 'TV Everywhere' model does the same.
"Moreover, it is troubling that a proposal billed as 'pro-consumer' continues to allow pay-TV providers to avoid viewer rebates for loss of broadcast TV programming during a disruption. Coincidentally, the draft bill is also silent on ending the practice of charging consumers upwards of $200 in 'early termination fees' to shift to another pay-TV provider during a disruption.
"Time Warner Cable, DirecTV and DISH are spending millions in Washington manufacturing a crisis over retransmission consent, when in fact it is these three companies responsible for nine out of 10 disruptions of service.
"NAB strongly opposes this draft bill."
The National Association of Broadcasters is the premier advocacy association for America's broadcasters. NAB advances radio and television interests in legislative, regulatory and public affairs. Through advocacy, education and innovation, NAB enables broadcasters to best serve their communities, strengthen their businesses and seize new opportunities in the digital age. Learn more at www.nab.org.