Congressman Steve Scalise (R LA) and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D CA) introduced legislation to limit retransmission consent rights. (Rep. Scalise is the minority WHIP in the House and Rep. Eshoo is a leading voice among Democrats in the House.) Essentially the bill would allow cable operators and satellite providers to continue to carry local television stations even where there is no retransmission consent agreement. While framed in terms of “black out protection,” the legislation undermines free market retransmission consent negotiations. According to Rep. Eshoo:
“In the last five years, the number of broadcast blackouts has doubled, and consumers are paying more than ever for TV programming,” said Rep. Eshoo. “The system today leaves consumers being held hostage to blackouts due to disputes between companies. Our bipartisan approach will eliminate blackouts and stem the rising costs. I’m pleased that Whip Scalise and I have found common ground to protect consumers and promote innovation.”
We have not seen a complete text of the legislation. Nonetheless, the bill is designed to undermine our negotiating position with cable and satellite systems. Obviously, we would have significant concerns with this bill.
For additional information from Congressman Steve Scalise’s website click HERE.
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