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March 9, 2010

NAB Statement on Retransmission Consent

--Time Warner CEO tells conference retrans is 'a good thing'--

WASHINGTON -- The National Association of Broadcasters issued a statement today regarding the fair, market-based retransmission consent process, by which cable operators and broadcast stations negotiate the carriage terms of a station's signal.

Commenting on the retransmission consent process, NAB Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton said:

"The unintended consequences of pay TV providers attacking the free-market-based retransmission consent model could be the demise of local programming. Modest retransmission consent revenues help local TV stations fund news operations, community service, and life-saving weather information that viewers across America rely on every day. Vertically-integrated cable operators routinely compensate each other for their own less-watched cable-owned networks, while raking in profit increases five times the amount of their programming costs. To see billion dollar pay TV companies asking for government intervention to protect their exorbitant profits is just plain wrong."

Recently publicized retransmission consent disputes follow announcements by major pay-TV providers touting their financial health. Last month DirecTV announced its fourth-quarter operating profit had increased 49 percent to $862 million. Time Warner Cable, according to Yahoo Finance!, had gross profits of more than $9 billion dollars and an operating margin close to 20 percent in the trailing twelve months.

NAB's statement follows comments by Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes made today on the retransmission consent process, as reported by Broadcasting & Cable magazine. "On balance, it's a good thing," Bewkes said, according to B&C. "The networks are going to try very hard to get some kind of a material retransmission payment and they'll succeed to a certain extent."

About NAB
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


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