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Local broadcast TV stations exist to serve their communities. They produce the news, weather, and local sports coverage you depend on, as well as, performing vital community service. All that is made possible through the agreements TV stations reach with cable and satellite companies that carry our signal to your homes. Those deals are called “retransmission consent” agreements.
Unfortunately, consumers can be held hostage if a powerful cable or satellite company refuses to reach a fair deal with a local station. In those cases, a local station can be “blacked out” on a cable system. As a result, viewers like you can miss out on programming you love like NFL and NCAA football, primetime network programs, high profile programs like the Academy Awards and your local news.
It is simply unfair to you. After all , you pay your cable bill in-full each month – why should your cable company get to provide you less than a full slate of channels you pay your hard earned money for?
It’s true that at the end of the day, this is a business negotiation between two companies. It is our preference that our viewers never have to get involved. But when cable companies refuse to reach fair deals with local TV stations it threatens the entire community.
The fact is that by reaching fair deals with cable and satellite companies, local TV stations are able to invest in things that matter to you like local news coverage, public service programming, as well as the technology and personnel to ensure that in times of weather emergencies, security threats and other crises, local newsrooms are well equipped to provide accurate and timely information. In 2015, the average television station set a new record for the amount of local news aired and the amount of local television newsroom jobs was at a near-record high.
Yes. The current free-market process provides incentives for both parties to come to mutually beneficial arrangements, which is why negotiations are completed with no service interruptions or fanfare the great majority of the time. In fact, News Press & Gazette, including your local station, has worked tirelessly to avoid signal disruption in all of its markets with all cable and satellite companies on which its stations are distributed. We have successfully completed negotiations with dozens of separate distributors over the course of the last 15 months with no service disruptions. News Press & Gazette has always negotiated fairly and reasonably for the value of our local stations. Across the country, 99% of carriage related disputes are resolved through good faith negotiations, without service disruption to consumers. News Press & Gazette has a long history of successfully negotiating carriage contracts with nearly all cable and satellite providers. The one negotiation in our history that resulted in a service disruption involved the provider we are currently in negotiations with – DirecTV.
No. Pay-TV companies claim that broadcast retransmission fees are responsible for higher cable bills. In fact, retransmission consent fees make up only two cents of every dollar for pay-TV provider’s operating costs, yet Local TV has some of the highest viewership on their systems. The truth is, cable bills have risen faster – sometimes double – the rate of inflation since 1999, long before broadcasters received cash compensation for their signals.