Mediacom Calls Excessive Retrans Demands “Pilfering”

Tue, 08/06/2013 – 1:19pm
Mediacom, a company whose executives are not known for mincing words, threw its support behind Time Warner Cable, which is fighting CBS over the programmer’s demands for higher retransmission fees.
Mediacom released a statement saying: “In the last two weeks alone, millions of consumers in over 50 markets stretching from New York City to Honolulu have been blacked out by broadcast station owners attempting to pilfer billions of dollars from the pockets of hardworking American families. CBS Corp. has gone even further, blocking Bright House and Time Warner Cable broadband customers from accessing free CBS online content and, in doing so, violating the spirit of rules designed to protect an open Internet.”

Mediacom attacked not only CBS, but some of the other programmers who have been demanding large retrans fee increases, including ICA Broadcasting, Journal Broadcast Group and Raycom Media.

The MSO also charged the Federal Communications Commission with “unwillingness to protect television viewers,” who end up only two choices – both unacceptable – of blackouts or higher cable prices.

“It is a disturbing trend and absolute proof that our nation’s broadcast television laws are desperately in need of reform.”

The American Television Alliance (ATVA) chimed in, calling CBS’s actions shameful. “Is the FCC really willing to stand by as CBS abuses the free spectrum it received and hijacks the Internet?” the organization challenged.

The hostility between CBS and Time Warner Cable continued, with CEO Les Moonves tweeting a picture of a letter he’d sent to TWC CEO Glenn Britt, accusing Britt of failing to respond directly to CBS during the past week. Moonves said CBS sent Britt a 100-page contract and that Britt has not made a specific counter-offer based on that contract. Moonves did not share the details of the contract with the public, however.