Skip to main content

Uva:Retrans Fees Fund Hispanic Community Outreach

President Joe Uva says that since it made the decision back in 2008 to
seek cash for its TV station signals, it has been able to invest in
promoting education, financial planning, and voting
in Hispanic communities, encouraging participation in the census, and
producing high-value content through Univision Studios.

investment depended on the dual revenue stream it has built after
electing to seek cash rather than mandatory carriage for its 62 TV

According to
a copy of his testimony, prepared for a Nov. 17 Senate
Communications Subcommittee hearing on retransmission consent, Uva says
Univision has since negotiated over 150 deals without any
signal disruption.

Uva argues
that it is only fair that Univision participate in the value of its
programming. After all, when Univison was electing must-carry, he
says, it was getting no compensation for programming that he says
"helped propel the growth of those distributors."

subcommittee, led by Sen. john Kerry (D-Mass.) is looking into what it
should do, if anything, to change the current system. Kerry thinks the
FCC needs to get more involved, including mandating
outside arbitration when necessary and keeping signals on the air
during retrans impasses.

Uva said
that he understood the concern of elected officials over the loss of a
constituent's favorite station, but said stepping in to keep signals
on the air would distort the marketplace and remove the primary
incentive for distributors to reach an agreement.

He adds that
even the threat of government intervention could negatively affect his
business. "Investors know that mandated "interim carriage," standstills
and the like only benefit cable operators.
This is precisely the wrong time to do anything that will further
depress investor confidence in broadcasting and local program services,"
he says.

FCC Chairman
Julius Genachowski supports a congressional review of retrans, citing
consumer disruptions and what he says is the relatively limited power of
the FCC to step in under current law. Cable
operators disagree. They say the FCC has broad powers to write retrans
laws that protect consumers from a system that in their view unfairly
benefits broadcasters and insulates those broadcasters from the economic
impact of their retrans deals.