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ACA Pans NBCURetrans Haul

NBC stations can expect to get more than
$350 million in additional retrans bucks from
Comcast alone over the next nine years if the
cable company is allowed to team up with
NBC Universal.

That was the message last week from the
American Cable Association (ACA), which
is trying to convince regulators to impose
conditions it says would limit the transfer of
those costs to consumers. ACA assumes,
with some reason, that the higher prices it
says Comcast will be able to collect for the
stations from competitors will be passed
along to its customers.

In a study released last week, ACA argued
that the deal will actually cost consumers
some $2.4 billion more over that same nineyear
span—$1.6 billion more for NBCU cable
nets and $651.2 million more for its regional
sports nets (RSNs), but minus $200 million in
benefits Comcast claims from the deal. That
nine years is the length of time ACA wants
the FCC to impose conditions, including not
being able to bundle retrans consent negotiations
with NBCU’s co-owned cable channels
or Comcast’s RSNs.

Comcast said ACA was essentially blowing
smoke in an effort to delay the deal, which is
expected to be approved by December.