NCTC: Programming Issues Top 2014 Priorities

Tampa , Fla. — As they seek ever-expanding distribution rights for TV Everywhere, cloud DVRs and other new types of services and apps, keeping programming costs in check is priority No. 1 for operators, regardless of their size.

Speaking at the National Cable Television Cooperative’s Winter Educational Conference here, NCTC CEO Rich Fickle put programming issues at the top of his agenda for 2014. The NCTC, which negotiates programming and technology deals on behalf of its 900-plus members, also urged this batch of independent operators to make sure their voices are heard.

Historically, the NCTC negotiated master agreements, and members opted in, but Fickle is calling on members to join in and play a “proactive role in our negotiations,” he said in an interview here last week.

“It’s a different dynamic,” Fickle said, noting that among the NCTC membership, the median system size is 1,500 subscribers. The NCTC said this year’s event drew more than 600 members and exhibitors, and 621 attendees, the most since 2008, when operators were gearing up for the broadcast TV digital transition.