Retransmission reform advocates think they've got an opening to convince Congress it's time to change the law that leads to blackouts like the one between CBS and Time Warner Cable that left more than 3 million Time Warner Cable subscribers outside the CBS dome.
Their big hope? Getting retransmission consent reform language attached to the reauthorization of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELA).
Since the law expires at the end of next year unless Congress does something, retrans reform advocates can take advantage of the debate to make the argument that it's the perfect opportunity to address retransmission consent law, whether it's forced arbitration, prohibiting blackouts, or some other measure.
A 25-year-old law, STELA allows satellite TV companies like Dish and DirecTV to retransmit in a local market a network TV signal from outside the subscribers' market if a local signal isn't available.