The CBS and Time Warner Cable dispute on retransmission arrangements and the consequent month long blackout in many markets across the US has created a huge furor among cable subscribers and drawn more criticism towards an industry that is already faring below par in the American consumer market.
To mitigate possible losses and save face in the wake of this dispute a number of satellite and cable providers have come together. According to a latest news report the group has made an appeal to the Congress seeking approval for them to deploy distant network signals during the process of retransmission negotiations. The underlying goal is to present a way of circumventing further blackouts of this nature.
Stanton Dodge, Executive Vice President Dish Network said, ‘without any immediate action from the Congress it is likely that many more millions of screens will go dark with each passing year while consumers have to pay more and more for satellite and cable services’. Dodge is scheduled to testify at a hearing before the subcommittee of House Judiciary Committee. An advance copy of his testimony has been released and it says, ‘however, National Association of Broadcasters would urge the lawmakers to veto pleas for relief. Meanwhile Gerard Waldron, an attorney specializing on communications and who will also be testifying at the hearing on behalf of NAB has stated in the pre-release, ‘changes in the laws permitting satellite carriers to import distant signals not based on needs but in order to achieve unfair market leverages in retransmission consent dispute is contrary to the decades of congressional policies aimed in promoting localism’. It is reported that Waldron would also argue on the theory that giving permission for satellite and cable providers in importing network signals would ultimately jeopardize viability of the local network affiliates. Waldron is expected to focus his charges on Time Warner Cable, Dish and DirecTV who is responsible for 89% of the service disruptions that have taken place recently due to various negotiating impasses.