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Retransmission Consent

The Communications Act requires that a television station give its consent to a cable system or other multichannel video programming distributor (MVPD) to carry its broadcast signal.  Television stations and cable systems, as well as satellite carriers, negotiate for this “retransmission consent” and money or other consideration is generally exchanged between the parties in these private negotiations.  If the parties do not produce an agreement in time, they may decide to extend the existing agreement, which means they would continue to carry the stations during their negotiations.  If they do not reach an agreement, then the cable system or other MVPD must stop offering the stations to their subscribers. 

On March 3, 2011, the Commission adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking(NPRM) on proposed changes to the retransmission consent rules that would minimize disruptions to consumers if an agreement between the parties was not reached.  Specifically, the NPRM asks for comment on proposals that would: 

  • Provide more guidance to the negotiating parties on good-faith negotiation requirements; 
  • Improve notice to consumers in advance of possible service disruptions caused by impasses in retransmission consent negotiations; and 
  • Eliminate the Commission’s network non-duplication and syndicated exclusivity rules, which provide a means for parties to enforce certain exclusive contractual rights to network or syndicated programming through the Commission rather than through the courts.

The Commission is additionally asking for comments on any other revisions or additions to its rules that would improve the retransmission consent negotiation process and help protect consumers from programming disruptions.  You can submit your comments on Docket 10-71 below.

Rulemakings:

3/3/11
FCC Takes a Fresh Look at Its Retransmission Consent Rules in Light of Recent Consumer Television Disruption.
News Release: Word| Acrobat
NPRM: Word| Acrobat
Genachowski Statement: Word| Acrobat
Copps Statement: Word| Acrobat
McDowell Statement: Word| Acrobat
Clyburn Statement: Word| Acrobat
Baker Statement: Word| Acrobat

3/19/10
Media Bureau Seeks Comment on a Petition for Rulemaking to Amend the Commission's Rules Governing Retransmission Consent. Comments Due: 4/19/10, Replies Due: 5/4/10.
Public Notice: Word| Acrobat

Related Guides:

CGB Advisory:  http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/how-to-receive-a-broadcast-tv-station-if-dropped-from-pay-tv-service.html

For more information pertaining to the Media Bureau, please call:  (202) 418-7200.

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