What People Are Saying

“If Washington tries to ‘outsmart’ the marketplace, however, unintended consequences are sure to ensue – as they always do. Attempted government arbitration of retrans disputes is likely to result in more blackouts, not fewer.”
– Robert McDowell, “Should the government try to ‘fix’ retransmission consent?” – The Hill, 11/22/2013

“99.99% of the viewing in America is never touched by a retransmission consent dispute… You are twenty times more likely to suffer a power outage than an outage from a retransmission consent dispute.”
– Gerry Waldron, Hudson Institute Panel, 12/4/2014

“The fact that there is an occasional dispute or impasse is the sign of a working market, not an un-working market.”
– Gerry Waldron, Hudson Institute Panel, 12/4/2014

“The current system allows free-market negotiations between broadcasters and other content owners on one side of the table and satellite and cable distributors on the other.”
– NBC Television Affiliates Board

“Without fair compensation for the content broadcasters have created or acquired, local television stations will be fundamentally impaired in their efforts to innovate.”
– CBS Television Network Affiliates Association

“To compete for the most popular national programming with cable and satellite fee-based and advertiser-based revenue streams, local television stations, of necessity, must now charge fees to their competitors for the retransmission and resale of their signals.”
– ABC Television Affiliates Association

“Despite the fact that [broadcasters] are providing the overwhelming percentage of the pie of valued programming, they actually aren’t getting as much money as others… It’s a mere two cents of every cable dollar.”
– Gerry Waldron, Hudson Institute Panel, 12/4/2014

“The fact remains that only a very small percentage, less than 1 percent of the 15,000 consent negotiations, end in a blackout.”
– Katy Bachman, “The Politics of Retrans”, Ad Week, 7/24/2012

“The revenues obtained from these free market retransmission consent negotiations are essential to fund vital broadcast operations, including local news and providing emergency information. Moreover, these revenues are critical for stations to compete in a highly competitive market for sports and entertainment programs.”
New York State Broadcasters Association

“The evidence shows that retransmission consent is achieving Congress’ intended purpose of allowing broadcasters to receive an economically efficient level of compensation for the value of their signals, and that this compensation ultimately benefits consumers by enriching the quantity, diversity, and quality of available programming, including local broadcast programming.”
– Jeff Eisenach and Kevin Caves, “Retransmission Consent and Economic Welfare”

“While understanding the frustration television viewers feel when they can’t access their favorite shows, the solution to these complex negotiations is not to limit what broadcasters can do to negotiate a fair deal.”
– Writers Guild of America, West

“They (pay-TV operators) have sought to alter retransmission consent negotiations through a multitude of legislative proposals. One such proposal is the idea of a “standstill,” in effect a contract that never ends regardless of its eventually outdated terms and conditions. Applied to collective bargaining, a contract like this would be unacceptable to IBEW members. For our employers in the broadcasting industry, such a contract is an unnecessary restraint of trade.”
– Edwin D. Hill, International President, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, November 4, 2013

“If you’re talking about severe weather in a local area, the local broadcasters – both television and radio – are all over it. That’s a key part of their local coverage as well.”
– Barry Parr, Former senior analyst at Forrester Research

“Local news—largely relying on the National Weather Service and Doppler Radar—has very capable meteorologists to forewarn all potentially at risk before severe weather strikes.”
– Joe Concha, Mediaite

“Andrew Reinsdorf, DirecTV’s senior vice president for government affairs, told The Hill that the dispute involved ‘two private companies’ and should not warrant lawmakers’ attention. ‘I don’t see the nexus with Congress,’ he said.
– Julian Hattem, The Hill, January 23, 2014

“[C]able is a business that relies on scale; the game is to increase the number of subscribers and lower all possible costs, then grind away with one price increase after another. And when big operators get bigger, their scale grows.”
– Susan Crawford, Special Asst to President Obama for STIP, Bloomberg View, January 27, 2014