NAB Files in Opposition to Mediacom

The National Association of Broadcasters Monday filed in opposition to cable operator Mediacom's request that the FCC unbundle programming deals.

NAB says the FCC could not legally restrict the ability of broadcasters and MVPD's to negotiate retrans terms and even if it could, the move would hurt, not help, the public interest because it would "impede the creation and distribution of new programming."

Besides, says NAB, "Mediacom presents not one shred of evidence supporting its allegations that it or any other multichannel video programming distributor ('MVPD') is being 'forced' to carry any programming..."

Mediacom in July asked the FCC to adopt new rules that would prevent volume-based discounts in program carriage deals, insure access to content online and require the disclosure of rates.

That came in a petition for expedited rulemaking filed by the cable operator. The FCC is under no obligation to act on the petition, but it puts Mediacom's asks on the table, which are:

1. Give MVPDs an a la carte option for new channels or the most expensive
2. Give MVPDs an unbundling option, with information about other offers and bundles
3. Prohibit the blocking or restricting of Internet access to programming as a negotiating tactic in agreements
4. Only allow volume discounts if they can be justified through waivers.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.