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Deal Applauds Disney’s Retrans Deal

Georgia Republican Rep. Nathan Deal, who has pushed for retransmission-consent reform, Wednesday praised Disney for giving some small cable operators fee-free carriage of its owned stations for three years starting in 2009.

"I commend Disney-ABC for taking this step in the right direction," Deal said. But he added that the Federal Communications Commission should not see this as an opportunity not to take its own action to help other operators.

Saying that Disney's offer affected only about 1% of cable subscribers, Deal said in a statement, “This should send a clear signal to the FCC that there is in fact a problem with the current retransmission-consent regime. This action by Disney should not result in inaction by the FCC.”

Deal also put in a plug for unbundling cable channels as a way to reform the retransmission-consent process.

"The goal should be to allow for a free market where the distributor can negotiate a fair price for the channels consumers want without being forced to accept the tying and bundling of programming to broadcast channels, thus passing on additional costs to consumers for programming they don’t want," he added.