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ACA teams with Dish Network, DirecTV, Time Warner Cable on retransmission-consent reform

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The lobbying group that represents small cable operators is teaming up with rivals Dish Network (Nasdaq: DISH), DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV) and major cable MSO Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) to lobby the FCC on retransmission-consent reform.

In a joint filing on Tuesday, ACA and the pay TV providers asked the FCC to prohibit local TV stations owned by separate companies from coordinating retransmission-consent negotiations. ACA said it documented 65 instances of sharing arrangements involving affiliates of ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox in 58 markets.

"Prices paid by [multichannel video programming distributors] negotiating with a single negotiator representing two non-commonly owned stations range from 21.6 percent to 161 percent higher than for separately owned or controlled broadcast affiliates," ACA wrote in the letter that was signed by executives from Time Warner Cable, DirecTV and Dish.

The idea of ACA teaming up with Dish, DirecTV and Time Warner Cable on an FCC filing is noteworthy, considering it was just last month that ACA complained that DirecTV and Dish should be forced to pay their "fair share" of FCC regulatory fees. But when it comes to retransmission-consent reform, satellite TV providers and cable operators that don't own TV stations are on the same page.

Time Warner Cable is represented in Washington, D.C., by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association. But NCTA has steered clear of the debate on retransmission-consent reform, as its largest member, Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA), is also one of the nation's largest TV station group owners through its NBC owned-and-operated stations.

Time Warner Cable has teamed up with DirecTV previously on retransmission-consent lobbying efforts.  And in February, the companies hosted  joint Super Bowl parties for Time Warner Cable subscribers in Texas that were unable to watch the championship game because of a retransmission-consent dispute the MSO had with Corpus Christ-based NBC affiliate KRIS-TV.

For more:
- see the FCC filing (.pdf)

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DirecTV teams with Time Warner Cable to fight retransmission consent fees