Broadcasters use retransmission negotiations to demand huge rate hikes and force unwanted channels into program lineups, according to a retransmission negotiations survey conducted by the American Cable Association.

Additionally, cable companies are concerned that their customers often blame them for the rate hikes and unpopular channels, when in fact the broadcasters dictate how much customers are forced to pay and which channels and networks must be carried.

Among the key findings in the survey, ACA conducted a survey of its members was that 76 percent of respondents said that broadcasters employ a “take it or leave it” approach to retransmission negotiations.

Retransmission Negotiations Survey
Nearly 70 percent of cable companies stated that their top goal during retransmission consent negotiations is to keep fees as low as possible for customers.

When asked about the future of retransmission consent negotiations, 63 percent were concerned that if the process stays the same, it would harm their customers.

Among comments respondents provided in the survey were:

  • “That this is essentially not a negotiation – it is an agreement forced on us.”
  • “Cable companies have little to no negotiating power on rates.”
  • “Operators have zero leverage.”
  • “There are no negotiations.”
  • “Extreme bullying and take it or leave it attitude.”
  • “They are inflexible – there is no negotiation.”
  • “We are negotiating to keep their prices down. We are not trying to get rich with rate increases and this is the main driver of why our smaller tiers are continuing to rise while there is no value added.”
  • “…This is unsustainable and consumers will lose in the end.”
  • “The entire process of retransmission consent gives broadcasters all of the power and is anticompetitive.”
  • They are hurting consumers and putting jobs at risk as small cable fights to survive.”
  • “Cable providers are being bullied to pay ridiculous fees that are increasing at [sic] unsustainable rates.”
  • “That the one-sided nature to these negotiations has caused and will continue to cause larger and larger cable rate increases.”
  • “We are in a no-win situation and cannot control rate hikes.”
  • “That our hands are tied by outdated legislation and greedy broadcast corporations and that’s why we are unable to provide them a local choice at a reasonable price.”