A recently released Harris poll commissioned by broadcaster coalition group TVfreedom provides plenty of fodder for its ongoing attacks on the cable industry.
TVfreedom and the cable-backed American Television Alliance have taken the very pointed point in their war over retrans fees and the FCC’s current proceeding looking at the definition of good faith negotiations.
TVfreedom was trumpeting such findings as: 77% of those polled (2,047 adults 18+, 1,536 of whom subscribe to pay TV) said they somewhat or strongly agree that “pay-TV providers care more about their own profits than ensuring quality service”; 90% said they should not have to take bundled service—phone, Internet, video—to get the lowest price for TV; and 79% said they pay too much to rent their cable box/DVR (a point FCC chairman Tom Wheeler made in proposing two weeks ago to open up boxes to third parties).
But a majority (67%) did say that their pay-TV bills are easy to understand, and only 27% said they had had an “unsatisfactory customer service experience” in the past two years.
The online survey was conducted Dec. 28-30. Characterizations about pay TV came from those subs.
“The survey shows that the FCC’s narrow focus on retransmission consent rules is wildly misguided,” said TVfreedom spokesman Robert Kenny. “Instead of rewarding the pay-TV industry for its effort to manufacture a retransmission consent crisis, the FCC should focus on issues truly harming consumers, starting with service outages, excessive rental fees and deplorable customer service that consumers are subjected to every day.” Kenny pointed out that almost half (49%) of the respondents said they don’t think they have a choice of affordable competitive pay-TV providers.
ATVA spokesman Trent Duffy was not available for comment, but said in response to a recent broadcaster filing on the issue, “It’s no surprise that broadcasters think the current system is working when fees have skyrocketed 22,400% in 10 years. The current system is only working for broadcast executives who are lining their pockets with more cash while consumers are hit with higher costs and more blackouts.”
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.
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