Local TV stations would be prohibited from teaming up to negotiate retransmission-consent agreements with pay-TV distributors, under a proposal FCC chairman Tom Wheeler announced Thursday.
Time Warner Cable will begin adding a $2.25 monthly surcharge next month to the bills of subscribers nationwide to help it cover the costs of increased retransmission fees that it pays to local TV stations that air programming from CBS, NBC, Fox, ABC and other broadcast networks.
Tennis Channel lost its attempt to get a court order aimed at forcing Comcast to add the independent network to programming tiers in an additional 18 million homes, after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected its appeal of a ruling issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals last May.
After Comcast executives told analysts Wednesday that its merger with Time Warner Cable could help it reduce programming expenses, TV station group owner E.W. Scripps announced that it wouldn't expect the deal to take a toll on the retransmission-consent revenue it collects from the cable MSOs until 2016 at the earliest.
Comcast's deal to acquire Time Warner Cable will likely result in the demise of the American Television Alliance, a coalition of pay TV distributors that TWC formed in 2010 to lobby for reform of retransmission-consent rules, an executive at one of ATVA's member companies told FierceCable Thursday.
Time Warner Cable, Comcast and other pay-TV distributors could face tougher negotiations with TV stations in Detroit and Buffalo, N.Y., after Scripps announced Monday that it will acquire stations owned by Granite Broadcasting in the cities.
Cable One said that it hiked the monthly subscription fees on its programming packages in January by $5, telling subscribers that it needs to collect more money to cover its programming costs.
The Weather Channel is taking its fight to restore distribution on DirecTV to the board of directors of the top satellite TV provider, with CEO David Kenny writing a letter in which he says that "thousands" of DirecTV subscribers have threatened to cancel their subscriptions.
Cablevision said it restored the feed for CBS affiliate WFSB-TV in Hartford, Conn., on Saturday, 16 days after it blacked out the feed for the station because of a dispute involving retransmission-consent fees.
Cable subscribers shouldn't be forced to buy basic-cable programming packages containing local broadcast channels, National Cable & Telecommunications Association CEO Michael Powell said at a House Communications and Technology Subcommittee hearing on Wednesday.