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FCC votes for retransmission rulemaking


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#1 OFFLINE   FTA Michael

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Posted 04 March 2011 - 12:20 PM

You really need to read the original article by the hardest-working man in Washington, John Eggerton, in Multichannel News: http://www.multichan..._Rulemaking.php

My favorite quote: "The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking ... suggest(s) a number of possible changes, specifically to 'provide more guidance to the negotiating parties on good-faith negotiation requirements; ... and eliminate the commission's network non-duplication and syndicated exclusivity rules.' " (emphasis mine)

If I understand this correctly, it's possible that syndex could go away, which might leave viewers free to buy out-of-market channels. That would give cable/satellite a much better bargaining position with negotiating retransmission rights.
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#2 OFFLINE   runner861

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Posted 04 March 2011 - 12:39 PM

Elimination of the syndicated exclusivity and network nonduplication rules will be fought by the NAB. However, there is no reason that these rules must exist. They do provide a uniform and heavy-handed way for broadcasters to enforce copyright law. However, if the rules were repealed, the situation would have to be worked out through direct negotiation between the broadcasters and the cable companies, or through the courts.

#3 OFFLINE   SayWhat?

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Posted 04 March 2011 - 12:41 PM

As noted previously, broadcast stations should NOT be able to charge a retransmission fee to cable or Sat companies for subscribers in their home DMA.

Local stations should NOT have any say in restriction of choice regarding distant stations.

Retrans fees COULD be charged for subscribers choosing distant stations.


ETA: I say screw the NAB the same way I say screw the RIAA and all other wannabe dictatorships.
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#4 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 04 March 2011 - 01:37 PM

My personal preference is making all stations "must carry" within their own DMA with no consent required to redeliver a signal to a customer within the "protected contour" of any station. I'd make it all dependent on the "protected contour" but that would leave people without an affiliate - so I'm willing to extend the protected area of a station to fill their DMA. But if another affiliate provides predicted coverage (current SV stations) I would not deny them carriage.

The only thing left in my personal preference is what to do with short markets ... and the current distants laws could be modified to cover that. I would restore the protection for out of market stations (since the station itself would be carried).

(I'm not a fan of any station from any market in any time zone carriage. I don't mind the locals having priority. But where a local has OTA or in-market coverage the local should be carried without a retransmission fee.)

Anyone can dream.


As far as the actual proposal .... the more that is put on the table the more that can be negotiated. Asking for the complete removal of SYNDEX and network exclusivity is a good start toward reaching a middle ground. If they start with the obtainable then the final result will be something less.

And in light of other actions (the FCC's desire to free up much of the broadcast spectrum for broadband) ordering satellite companies to deliver stations within their coverage area/market and ordering stations to allow carriage makes sure that the stations remain available to the public even if the OTA signals are compromised.

#5 OFFLINE   SayWhat?

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Posted 04 March 2011 - 02:04 PM

I'm not a fan of any station from any market in any time zone carriage.

I don't really care about markets or time zones. A network program is a network program is a network program. Doesn't matter if it comes from a station in Miami, Boston, St. Louis, Denver or Sacramento. If I move from Buffalo to Tulsa and want to stay in touch, I should be able to choose Buffalo locals for the news and other local programming, if any. Yeah, I know there are some technical issues with spot beams and all, but no one will even try to work those out as long as the draconian laws are in place.
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#6 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 04 March 2011 - 02:33 PM

If I move from Buffalo to Tulsa and want to stay in touch, I should be able to choose Buffalo locals for the news and other local programming, if any.

If any channel from any market in any time zone is ever allowed there is a chance that stations in Buffalo and Tulsa may not get carried in their own market - let alone allowed "everywhere". (Unless, of course, there is a requirement that one's home market be provided BEFORE allowing any out of market affiliates ... similar to the requirement DISH is under to offer local carriage in all DMAs in order to be able to offer distants anywhere.)

If you're really looking for the locally produced content from another market and not trying to watch network content that should be available on a local affiliate or regionally restricted content such as pro sports you are in a distinct minority.

The technical challenge of being able to deliver thousands of local affiliates to anywhere in the country via satellite is not met by the demand. Perhaps streamed on demand via the Internet (with territorial restrictions intact) would work. But there is simply no need for customers to have to have a dish that can receive ~4000 channels just to please a few who want a foreign market.

#7 OFFLINE   SamC

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Posted 05 March 2011 - 06:50 AM

There are, IMHO, two different issues here. Maybe three.

First is this "any station, any market" theory, predicated upon "keeping in touch with 'home'". This is, as a cultural deal, a non-starter. Part of moving is, well, moving. New OTA channels, new ways of interacting with others, new politics, new sports loyalities, different brands of white sliced bread, etc. If you don't like Tulsa, don't live there. But my opinion on that aside, it boils down to the things that are two things that are different on local TV. Look at this as one issue or two. News and sports. Sports is, for the most part, taken care of via the packages. And, in a few years I think every game that has any merit whatsoever, even Div II and one bid league games will be on the internet. The other is news. This you can cover on the internet. Most markets have at least one station that streams its news.

But the second is the whole retransmission deal. First the FCC need to realize that signals do not die neatly at county lines. Every station that can be received OTA should be retransmitable. And second, this is another case of Congress fixing something that was not broken. Fortnightly was rightly decided. Local TV should be free. Operated in the public interest as a public trustee. Any station that cannot accept those terms and conditions can sign their FCC permits on the back and I will be glad to take the station off their hands. Really that simple.

#8 OFFLINE   NR4P

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 09:30 PM

I've posted often that the local stations should have no right to charge anything to SAT or Cable broadcasters. The cable and sat guys extend the free OTA signal that they want people to see.

That said, there is one good reason today to require that if people are watching network TV that it be the local staton and not a distant station. That is for emergency notification. Could be a train derailment with toxic chemicals in your area or a tornado warning etc.

Yes I know that if I'm watching HBO I won't see it anyway but the emergency notification piece plays big in the NAB position and is hard to argue away. That said, Directv knows my zip code, knows where I live and whether or not I watch a DNS or HBO, they could have the technology in the SAT boxes to pop up messages on my screen and remove that NAB lobbying point. If they can cover that, one major NAB and local broadcaster argument goes away.

Glad to see the FCC taking this on. No doubt the Fox World Series mess in the NY area last fall motivated the FCC that the free market is captive at times.

#9 OFFLINE   SayWhat?

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 10:24 PM

Except that it will be 10 years before any changes take place in practice. There will be years of study and testimony. Then, once the FCC makes a statement, either the NAB or the Sat/Cable carriers (or both) will appeal and tie it up in the courts.
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#10 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 11:52 PM

FCC Takes a Fresh Look at Its Retransmission Consent Rules in Light of Recent Consumer Television Disruption.
Press Release
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Commission Comments

Edited by James Long, 07 March 2011 - 02:14 AM.
Removed redundant links


#11 OFFLINE   Davenlr

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 12:30 AM

Lots of reading, but in all, a good step in the right direction. I particularly like the section which would allow a DBS provider to negotiate carriage of a network station from the next DMA over, should the network affiliate in the local DMA not negotiate in good faith (If I read that correctly). In any case, can the general public weigh in on these proposals, or are they limited to the parties they directly involve?

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#12 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 01:51 AM

Lots of reading, but in all, a good step in the right direction. I particularly like the section which would allow a DBS provider to negotiate carriage of a network station from the next DMA over, should the network affiliate in the local DMA not negotiate in good faith (If I read that correctly). In any case, can the general public weigh in on these proposals, or are they limited to the parties they directly involve?

Anyone can file a comment or reply comment, but the FCC generally takes the comments of those with standing more seriously (stations and providers, in this case).

I've seen some rulemaking procedures where the FCC notes response from the general public but few where that response is specifically quoted and responded to in the next step of the rule making process. (In my opinion this is generally because general public comments leave little to reply to. They are often non-responsive to the actual rulemaking - sometimes involving irrelevant topics. But I'm sure a professionally presented response to the actual proposal would be considered.)

#13 OFFLINE   runner861

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 08:08 AM

Lots of reading, but in all, a good step in the right direction. I particularly like the section which would allow a DBS provider to negotiate carriage of a network station from the next DMA over, should the network affiliate in the local DMA not negotiate in good faith (If I read that correctly). In any case, can the general public weigh in on these proposals, or are they limited to the parties they directly involve?


I don't think it is limited to negotiating for carriage of a network station from the next DMA over. The idea is more generally to allow the carrier to negotiate for alternate carriage of programming by eliminating the syndicated exclusivity and network nonduplication rules.

If implemented (and that is a big if), then the carrier would be able to choose a station from anywhere, as long as that station agreed. Of course, the FCC won't end up exactly allowing that.

However, the bigger issue of retransmission consent is one that the FCC really cannot deal with, since it is mandated by law. Congress would have to change that, if/when it chooses to do so.

#14 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 09:21 AM

True ... most of this proposal is finding a better definition of what is fair.

I like the part where a station cannot negotiate to block a SV station from a market. It seems odd that a station with RF coverage could be blocked by a more distant "local station" just because of the DMA lines. Every time the law is revised Congress talks about leveling the playing field with cable. Yet a station that can require carriage on a cable system (by being SV) can be blocked on a satellite system by another affiliate.

#15 OFFLINE   NR4P

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 08:12 PM

Lots of reading, but in all, a good step in the right direction. I particularly like the section which would allow a DBS provider to negotiate carriage of a network station from the next DMA over, should the network affiliate in the local DMA not negotiate in good faith (If I read that correctly). In any case, can the general public weigh in on these proposals, or are they limited to the parties they directly involve?


Anyone can respond. And examples of actual problems weigh heavily. I saw your post about the SD subchannels and I don't know if the FCC would care about it being SD vs HD, but loss of programming entirely is a big issue.

#16 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 03:43 PM

I'm not sure what DBS providers stand to gain here based on this on page 26 of the Notice (emphasis added):

45. We note that in SHVIA Congress extended the network non-duplication and syndicated exclusivity rules to DBS but only in extremely limited situations that are not equivalent to their application to cable systems. As specified in SHVIA, the Commission’s rules apply the exclusivity requirements only to “nationally distributed superstations.” We do not propose to eliminate or revise these statutorily mandated rules. In SHVERA, Congress permitted DBS to carry out-of-market significantly viewed stations and applied the exclusivity rules insofar as local stations could challenge the significantly viewed status of the out-of-market station and thus prevent its carriage, just as in the cable context. We seek comment on whether and, if so, how, this limited application of the exclusivity rules would apply to DBS if we eliminate the rules as they apply to cable and whether eliminating rules as to cable systems would create undue disparities or unintended consequences for DBS. We also seek comment on whether new rules would be needed to permit local stations to challenge the significantly viewed status of an out-of-market station if the network non-duplication rules are revised or eliminated.

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#17 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 03:58 PM

If DBS does not have to protect in market stations from duplicated programming on potential significantly viewed stations then SV stations can be carried more freely.

It is easier for DBS to not carry a feed than to apply blackout rules to selected programs throughout the day. Freeing DBS from the burden of deleting duplication would allow more SVs to be carried. A separate proposal in the rulemaking supports removing the ability for a station to refuse carriage unless SV stations are not carried.

This seems fair ... after all, the stations compete over the air with that duplicated programming. Why should they get more protection via satellite or cable? If any protection is afforded it should favor the station with OTA coverage over the one without. SV stations by definition have OTA coverage. Often the "in-market" station does not ... yet via DBS the LIL station gets preference under the law.

#18 OFFLINE   harsh

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 04:16 PM

Elimination of the syndicated exclusivity and network nonduplication rules will be fought by the NAB. However, there is no reason that these rules must exist.

I've never seen two sentences back-to-back that were so diametrically opposed. Syndex will remain for the simple reason that NAB is behind it.

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#19 OFFLINE   shadough

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 06:40 PM

IF we ever get to a point where any local from any market is available to anyone anywhere then I'm SURE the Sports leagues will force blackout rules. I'm sure the NFL won't stand for you being able to watch all their games from various stations and NOT pay them for the NFL Sunday ticket. Even though the ticket is only available on Directv. They will force the Sat carriers to black the games out, which as it stands right now, they don't do. In fact, it would probably be cheaper to get the sunday ticket then pay $2-4 dollars per month (or more), per distant channel you sub to.

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#20 OFFLINE   RasputinAXP

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 10:53 AM

Huh. So I've been reading the NPRM regarding these changes and a couple of interesting things popped up that I was unaware of.

II.D.27 regarding SV's:

we seek comment on whether a broadcaster’s request or requirement, as a condition of retransmission consent, that an MVPD not carry an out-of-market “significantly viewed” (“SV”)84 station violates Section 76.65(B)(1)(vi) of our rules.


Huh. Well that's funny. Who's had that happen? Oh, right.

DISH Network L.L.C. requested that the Commission adopt a rule to “clarify that tying retransmission consent to restrictions on SV station carriage” violates the requirement that parties negotiate retransmission consent in good faith.86 DISH Network stated that some “local stations
have tied the grant of their retransmission consent for local-into-local service to concessions from satellite carriers that the carriers will not introduce any SV stations of the same network.”87


This likely explains the lack of SVs in the Metro NYC area; my in-laws should have both Philly and NYC stations, as those in southwestern CT should have Hartford and NYC. Would I be surprised to hear that Dish got put over the barrel like this? Nope.

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