TVFreedom, a broadcast front group formed in response to the American Television Alliance, a cable and satellite front group, is leveraging consumer hatred of rising cable bills in a bid to derail the ongoing spat around broadcast retransmission fees.
American Television Alliance
Fights between broadcasters and pay TV over carriage deals always makes for good copy, and a new coalition in Washington is about to make sure there's a lot more for the press to chew on. TVFreedom.org launched today to defend broadcasters and "tell the truth" about the U.S. video marketplace.
It's no secret in Washington that Time Warner Cable has been one of the biggest proponents of retransmission consent reform. The cable company has devoted considerable financial and lobbying resources to get Congress to act and is one of the biggest members of the American Television Alliance, which puts out several press releases a week.
Now that CBS and Time Warner Cable have resolved their retransmission consent differences (for now), the rhetoric is turning to Washington, where ads have been popping up in Capitol Hill publications on both sides of the issue.
Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), ranking member of the House subcommittee on communications and technology, just made Wednesday's upcoming hearing interesting by publishing a discussion draft of a bill intended to eliminate TV blackouts caused by retransmission consent disputes.
The fun thing about an oversight hearing on the Federal Communications Commission is that there is always something for every constituent's pet issue, even if it's only for three minutes. Tuesday's Senate Commerce committee hearing was no exception, dredging up the problem of blackouts caused when cable systems and TV stations can't agree on a carriage fee.
Make no mistake. The debate in Washington over the cause and remedy for the blackouts of TV stations on cable or satellite is more political posturing than anything else.