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American Cable Association calls on Greedy Nexstar to end blackout

(HTC) American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka issued the following statement calling on corporate TV broadcaster Nexstar Media Group to end immediately its disgraceful retransmission consent blackout of Horry Telephone Cooperative (HTC) for CBS affiliate WBTW and the local MyNetworkTV station in the Myrtle Beach, S.C., area:

American Cable Association Logo“Just ahead of the Fourth of July national holiday, Nexstar Media Group pulled the local CBS station and the MyNetworkTV station from Horry Telephone Cooperative (HTC), a smaller cable provider serving the greater Myrtle Beach community,” Polka said. “Nexstar refused to allow HTC to carry the signals in question after HTC declined Nexstar’s ridiculous 163% monthly rate hike.

“All cable subscribers shoulder the cost of broadcasters’ greedy retransmission consent demands because TV station owners insist that all subscribers take the package that includes local stations. HTC’s actions were designed to protect its community members from receiving a  Nexstar-induced rate shock offered on obnoxious, take-it-or-leave terms.

“Instead of being a straight-forward business negotiation, retransmission consent is used by corporate broadcasters to abuse their market power to extract outrageous fees from cable customers. TV station owners typically extract the highest per-subscriber fees from a small cable operator like HTC.

“And there is no relief in sight: According to SNL Kagan, retransmission consent fees will rise from $8.6 billion last year to $11.6 billion within four years. Probably the most galling feature of the retransmission consent rip off is that TV stations tell consumers to blame the cable company. ACA remains hopeful that Congress, the FCC or both will recognize that retransmission consent laws and regulations need urgent reform.”