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FCC Chair Rosenworcel Considers Rebates in TV & Cable Contract Blackouts

FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel has floated two proposals regarding program blackouts that occur when there is a dispute between broadcasters and multichannel video program suppliers (e.g., cable, satellite, and video systems). She does not believe consumers should bear the brunt of these disputes. As a result, she is floating proposals that would provide rebates to consumers. She is floating two proposals with her fellow commissioners:

  • A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeks comment on whether and how to require cable and satellite providers to issue rebates to subscribers in the event of a blackout due to a failure to reach a retransmission consent agreement with broadcast station(s)/group owners.

  • A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that seeks comment on a proposal to require Multichannel Video Program Distributors (MVPDs) to notify the Commission via an online public portal when there is a blackout of 24 hours or more of broadcast programming due to a failure to reach a retransmission consent agreement.

Traditionally, broadcasters have asked the FCC not to weigh in on these disputes, preferring the marketplace to work out these disagreements. We shall see if this proposal gains traction with other Commissioners.

You can see Chairwoman Rosenworcel’s proposal here.



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