TVFreedom Adds Four MembersRetrans Backers Add More, Diverse, Muscle 2/10/2014 1:53 PM Eastern
The new broadcaster-backed retrans defender, TVFreedom.org, has added four new members, according to the group.
They are The Hispanic Institute, Entravision, ZGS Communications, and Media Alliance.
"Having these four members join the Coalition highlights the importance of Latino and culturally diverse communities working together to stand up to rising cable bills, pay-TV blackouts and punitive early termination fees," the group said Monday.
"We have a profound and enduring commitment to support the Latino communities we serve, and we believe TVfreedom.org shares our values of striving to meet the needs of our communities and providing them with programming that entertains, informs and educates Hispanics of all ages," said ZGS CEO Ronald Gordon in a statement.
TVFreedom.org was launched last week, an effort to boost broadcasters offensive firepower in the battle with cable and satellite operators over retrans, which has their own group, the American Television Alliance (ATVA), to push for retransmission consent reform. ATVA argues broadcasters have the upper hand through regulatory protections like retrans/must-carry and joint agreements that allow broadcasters to operate and sell ads for stations they could not own per FCC limits and use retrans blackouts to raise their profits at the expense of consumers.
TVFreedom has come out with tough language to match. It says cable and satellite providers are "stifling innovation," using their customers as bargaining chips" while raking in record profits.
The FCC has generally taken a hands-off approach to retrans impasses, while shaking a big stick during high-profile blackouts when pressed by Congress. But new FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has signaled he may crack down on joint agreements and said during his confirmation process that he was concerned about the consumer impact of blackouts.
TVFreedom members include the National Association of Broadcasters, the Big Four affiliate associations, the Television Bureau of Advertising and Many others (http://tvfreedom.org/members.php).