June 26, 2012
By Kaylee Hultgren
With the NCTC and ACA Independent Show fast approaching, CableFAX spoke with ACA pres and CEO Matt Polka about the association’s top issues being addressed at the conference this year.
#1: TV Everywhere for Everyone. “We’re going to continue our efforts, on behalf of our members, to get them greater online rights, TV Everywhere, etc. That is really something that’s important for our members and, working in conjunction with NCTC, we’re dedicated to achieving [it].”
#2: Programming Price Discrimination. “We are committed to addressing the ongoing programming problems that exist in the marketplace, where our members suffer at the hands of the larger programmers through price discrimination. [They are subject to] more than their fair share, as well as a lack of any choice [for] their consumers, through tiering of higher-cost sports or high-cost programming.”
#3 High-Tech Innovation. “There’s so much that's happening today from a perspective of over-the-top and new technological development. Our members want to understand what the future of video looks like and how they can take advantage of that, using their broadband pipe to provide more choices to their customers as well as offloading owners’ retransmission consent fees.”
#4 Celebration. “[We’ll be] celebrating the continued efforts, dedication and commitment of independent cable operators in smaller markets. Everybody talks about getting broadband in small markets—and that’s us. We continue to do it, despite the challenges, so we’ll take some time to celebrate that as well.”
On the topic of TV streaming service Aereo, Polka is not at all concerned. In fact, he suggests the industry should embrace the new technology.
“A company like Aereo is something that we want in essence to embrace. Yes, it could provide a competitive signal, so to speak….but we also want to use technological innovations to provide to our customers broadcast signals over the air. We’d love nothing better than to give our subscribers what the government has required broadcasters to provide—and that is free TV. And if through the development of technology, whether we partner with companies like Aereo or we develop our own technology with set-tops or otherwise to allow our customers to receive signals over the air, then we’re ok with that.
“Frankly, we think that the broadcasters are abusing the laws and the regulations that were passed 20 years ago. They’re using decades-old laws and rules to take advantage of consumers in no way that congress intended. So we’re committed not only to the reform of those rules and those laws but also technical innovation.”