Broadcast TV Negotiations
Article Date: 5/15/2016
Important Broadcast TV Negotiations Update
Like other Pay TV providers, Hawaiian Telcom must routinely negotiate with TV broadcasters so that we can continue to carry their channels in our line-up. We have successfully negotiated hundreds of agreements with many cable and broadcast channels over the years.
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 They describe in greater detail how broadcasters continue to use outdated federal laws to their advantage and how TV stations' blackout strategies have impacted consumers across the country and here at home.
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue with negotiations. And mahalo for being a highly valued Hawaiian Telcom customer.
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, the national broadcast networks - ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox - can potentially pull their signals, resulting in channel blackouts for the customer.
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 video 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 can 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 service method to watch the content, they will not be required to pay for retransmission. Your support can make Local Choice a reality.
Learn More: 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 Lilly Broadcasting (KITV) and Raycom (KHNL) 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 (which can adversely affect customers’ bills) or risk a network blackout.
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 (4) major dispute impasses during the past several years resulting in blackouts totaling nearly 50 days.