Lobbying groups representing big and small cable operators offered conflicting views on the Television Consumer Freedom Act proposed by Sen. John McCain (R.- Ariz.) Thursday.
The National Cable Television Association, whose biggest member is Comcast, called the bill a "lose-lose proposition." But the American Cable Association, which represents small and mid-sized cable operators, said it supported everything in the bill except a provision that would require cable operators to offer consumers a-la-carte programming options.
ACA has been lobbying Congress and the FCC to make it illegal for programmers that own both TV stations and broadcast networks--including Comcast, Walt Disney Co. and News Corp.--to tie retransmission-consent deals for TV stations with carriage deals for cable networks.
McCain's bill would ban that practice, and could also prevent programmers such as Viacom from requiring operators that want to carry popular networks such as Comedy Central and MTV to strike broader deals that include distribution of ancillary networks such as VH1 Classic and Paladia.
Click headline to read more--