The Communications Act (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 parties with an existing retransmission consent agreement do not reach a new agreement before their carriage contract has expired, they may decide to extend their agreement, which means the MVPD would continue to carry the broadcaster’s station(s) during the negotiations. If the parties do not reach an agreement, then the MVPD must stop providing the station to its subscribers.
The Act requires television stations and MVPDs to negotiate retransmission consent in good faith. The Commission has implemented the good faith negotiation requirement through a two-part framework for determining whether retransmission consent negotiations are conducted in good faith. First, the Commission has established a list of objective good faith negotiation standards, the violation of which is considered a per se breach of the good faith negotiation obligation. 47 CFR § 76.65(b)(1). Second, even if the per se standards are met, the Commission may consider whether a party failed to negotiate retransmission consent in good faith based on the totality of the circumstances. 47 CFR § 76.65(b)(4). In addition, the Commission has adopted rules governing retransmission consent negotiations between qualified MVPD buying groups and large station groups. 47 CFR § 76.65(b)(2)..
For more information on the Policy Division of the Media Bureau, please visit the Policy Division website.
For more information on Television broadcasting, please visit the Video Division website.
FCC > Media Bureau > Video Division, (202) 418-1600.