NAB’s Kaplan Addresses Cable Retrans Claims


Rick_KaplanThe cable industry has long sought FCC intervention in the retransmission consent process, and is pushing for a rulemaking on the topic. The NAB has written a letter to FCC Media Bureau Chief Bill Lake describing the tactics the industry is using.

It send the letter partly in response to an ex parte letter submitted by the American Television Alliance.

Executive Vice President and General Counsel Rick Kaplan wrote the letter.

He immediately pointed out the ATVA’s dramatics, referring to the situation “like a 1950s B-movie trailer – as “the menace of TV blackouts.”

Since the cable industry hopes to use blackouts that result from retransmission negotiation failures, NAB has predicted that the CATV will generate impasses and point to them as evidence supporting its case.

Kaplan cited cabler Mediacom, which petitioned for a rulemaking and immediately thereafter was involved in just such an impasse.

ATVA said that failures are on the rise, says Kaplan, despite the fact that there were less during 2014 than during previous years.

Kaplan then lowered the boom in the cable industry. He wrote, “ATVA’s use of these impasses as political ammunition should give the ommission pause as pay TV providers use their customers as fodder in their ambitious attempt to pay less for the valuable content they sell for a hefty price to their viewers. This approach should come as no surprise coming from an industry that ranked dead last among all industries covered in the most recent American Customer Satisfaction Index.”

Kaplan concluded, “Coupled with the pay TV industry’s long-standing sky-high profit margins, their deplorable customer service record makes their emotive plea on behalf of ‘American consumers’ ring hollow. We hope the Commission will see through this transparent ploy to make powerful pay TV operators look like victims in need of government assistance. Instead, we encourage the Commission to consider ways that it can actually help customers trapped in contracts with abusive pay TV providers.”