CenturyLink exec to rail against TV retransmission rules

CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) is relatively new to the pay TV space with its Prism IPTV offer and it doesn't necessarily think the way things have been done in the past are the way things should be done in the future, a company executive will tell Congress during two House subcommittee hearings on the pay TV marketplace this week.

Jim Campbell, Centurylink

Campbell (Image source: NATOA)

CenturyLink Regional Vice President of Regulatory and Legislative Affairs Jim Campbell will particularly single out retransmission fees and how these payments to content providers continue to jack up pay TV service process when he addresses the House Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.

"The cost of obtaining must-have broadcast programming continues to increase exponentially and consumers are feeling the impact through increased prices," a CenturyLink press release said Campbell will say. "Broadcasters are effectively using outdated rules to inhibit consumers from receiving the benefit of choice and a truly viable, competitive pay TV marketplace."

The biggest worry for a newcomer like Prism TV, trying to make a name in a market already saturated by cable operators, is the threat of a local programming blackout. This, Campbell suggests, can be overcome if the government deregulates rules that block video providers from carrying national programming from adjacent or alternate markets.

"Congress has an opportunity, as part of the reauthorization of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act of 2010, to restore balance to the video retransmission consent marketplace to the ultimate benefit of consumers," Campbell's prepared remarks say.

A new look at the old retransmission model could also lead to more competitive prices for consumers, Campbell said.

"While consumers have seen some slowdown in price increases from the incumbent cable provider in the market where we've launched Prism TV, true competitive pricing unfortunately has not yet been realized," he said. "Federal and state policymakers recognize that broadband deployment and video marketplace competition are related and that broadband speeds and adoption increase significantly when it is offered along with video services, which benefits consumers," he concluded.

For more:
- CenturyLink issued this press release

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