Scott Cleland’s Take on Fox-Cablevision Talks

by Mike Wendy on October 18, 2010

Scott Cleland from his Precursor Blog has an interesting take on the Fox-Cablevision dispute.  I repost it in full here (thanks, Scott!):

“Retransmission problem is regulatory failure not a free market problem”

The current harm to consumers from the latest unnecessary incident of retransmission brinksmanship is the clear result of FCC regulatory failure.

Fellow ardent free marketer, Randy May of the Free State Foundation, has a dead on piece that I highly recommend that exposes that the current broadcast retransmission negotiating process — as no “market” that a free marketer would recognize.

A set of FCC rules that still fantastically assumes a monopoly video market exists, when one clearly has not existed for well over a decade, creates a profound regulatory failure that distorts the market and harms consumers.

The reason some consumers currently are blacked out from their favorite sports programming is because the FCC has known for a long time, that it has a broken, out-of-date, and counter-productive retransmission negotiation process, and that it has not done anything to bring the process into the 21st century or to correct the dysfunctional imbalance that causes predictable serial disputes that harm consumers.

Simply, if the FCC spent less time on trying to fix potential unproven problems, like net neutrality and Title II regulation for which the FCC does not have legal authority, and more time on fixing actual problems harming consumers on their watch that they do have the authority to fix — American consumers would be much better off.

*****

For more on how easily the FCC could tweak this process and better serve consumers, see:

FCC Retransmission Update Can Protect Consumers” and

FCC’s Dysfunctional Retransmission Rules Harm Consumers

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