Broadcast TV Negotiations
Article Date: 1/11/2016
Important Broadcast TV Negotiations Update
We’ve successfully negotiated an agreement with Raycom Media to continue carrying Hawaii News Now channels KGMB (CBS) and KHNL (NBC) in our Hawaiian Telcom TV channel line-up. The threat of a blackout is over.
Like other Pay TV providers, Hawaiian Telcom routinely negotiates new agreements with TV broadcasters to carry their channels in our line-up. To date, we’ve successfully reached agreements with the cable networks and broadcasters and avoided blackouts. We’ll continue to advocate on your behalf for fair rates and will do our best to control rising programming costs.
Below you’ll find an Overview and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding current broadcast retransmission consent rules. They describe in greater detail how broadcasters continue to use outdated federal laws to their advantage and how TV stations' blackout strategies have impacted consumers across the country and here at home.
Retransmission Consent Overview & FAQs
WHAT IS RETRANSMISSION CONSENT?
Retransmission (or retrans) consent fees are the payments that Pay TV providers, like Hawaiian Telcom, make to broadcasters to carry their signals. If we do not agree on these fees, national broadcast networks, ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX, can potentially pull their signals from customers resulting in channel blackouts.
Consumers should be aware that:
- The rules governing retrans fees are part of the 1992 Cable Act.
- These rules were written at a time when most of us had only one choice for pay TV service and the Internet was still in its infancy.
- Today, we have a variety of ways to watch programming, but our rules are still based on the old model of only one Pay TV provider.
NEW LEGISLATION IN CONSIDERATION
Local Choice legislation is now being considered by Congress. With Local Choice, customers will choose whether or not to pay for each broadcast station individually. If they don’t watch a particular station or prefer to use an alternate to receive it, they will not be required to pay for retransmission. Your support can make Local Choice a reality.
Learn More: http://www.americantelevisionalliance.org/about-the-issue/
WHO ARE THE BIG BROADCASTERS?
The “Big 4” networks are ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX. They provide programming, such as morning and nightly national news shows, some daytime dramas, prime time programming and late night shows. The programming is then shown by their owned and operated (“O&O”) stations or their local affiliated stations, like SJL Broadcasting (KITV) and Lin Television Corporation (KHON) here in Hawaii.
HOW DOES RETRANS LEAD TO BLACKOUTS?
Hawaiian Telcom wants to give our customers the programming they love. To do so, we either have to pay the increased fees networks demand for retransmission consent which can adversely affect customers’ bills, or risk of network blackout.
If Hawaiian Telcom refuses to pay the purposed retrans fees, the broadcasters can black out their programming.
WHY SHOULDN’T CUSTOMERS SWITCH TO ANOTHER PAY TV PROVIDER?
Any provider a customer switches to will most likely face the same kind of blackout threats. In fact, the American Television Alliance reports that in the last five years, 80% of TV markets in the U.S. have experienced at least one local broadcast blackout. In Hawaii alone, since 2012, Oceanic Time Warner, DISH Network and DirecTV subscribers have experienced four blackouts totaling 27 days.