Retransmission fees are continuing to escalate and will go much higher in the next few years, according to smaller cable companies that are members of the American Cable Association (ACA).
ACA members reported that they will be forced to pay corporate broadcasters an average of 88 percent more in “retrans” fees by 2020. Based on ACA’s calculations, members were paying $11 on average per subscriber per month in 2017, which will increase to an average of $19 per subscriber per month by 2020.
Nearly a quarter of those surveyed will see a doubling of fees in the next three years, and in one case that jump is expected to be 302 percent.
According to the ACA, retransmission fees represent the fastest growing part of customers’ cable bills. In some cases, cable subscribers across the country could see up to $15 in retransmission fees added to their monthly cable bills by 2020.
Retransmission consent is a federal law and regulation that was created in 1992 – more than 25 years ago – to give broadcasters the right to request either mandatory carriage by cable operators, called “must carry,” or negotiated terms of carriage, retransmission consent. But, according to the ACA, the retransmission consent laws and regulations have never been changed to reflect the massive consolidation in the television network and broadcast group industry.
“Corporate broadcasters have become increasingly aggressive over the years in charging for retransmission consent, and it’s clear that they have no reservations taking escalating amounts of money from consumers to line their pockets,” said Matthew M. Polka, ACA president and CEO, in a prepared statement.
Polka added: “The corporate broadcasters are out of control. No other industry operates this way. No other sector would get away with such massive price increases in just three years. Why is this okay? Quite simply, it is not, and consumers should not have to pay the bill for something Washington should have changed years, if not decades, ago.”