Not surprisingly, retrans was high on the minds of execs at CTPAA’s DC conference Mon. "I don’t understand how the broadcaster/distributor relationship broke down," said Insight CEO Michael Willner, who notably mentioned that the MSO has yet to pay cash for retrans rights. Comcast svp, strategic planning Mark Coblitz agreed that cable’s increasingly acerbic negotiations with broadcasters will only "add to the cost of TV," but he declined to cough up any details on the MSO’s recent deal with Sinclair. At one point, Willner threw out the notion of a federal tax to subsidize local TV stations in lieu of retrans consent fees. He said broadcasters are looking to cash in as consumer interests are changing to become more Web-centric, and he should know (remember last year’s Insight HSD migration debacle?). "Without online [capability], customers think they are lost in an ocean with no way home," he said. Rainbow Media’s recent focus on weaving linear and VOD content with online initiatives, especially user-generated content, drives this point home. "The Web is terribly intriguing and important," said pres/CEO Josh Sapan. IFC has invited user-generated short film submissions for some time, and Rainbow is looking at integrating the initiative at AMC and WE, he said. But no mission will achieve its greatest efficacy without solid corporate communication, said Willner, especially with customers. Huge trouble would ensue "if we’re not listening as much as we are speaking to our constituents," he said. One pivotal phenomenon within the communications segment is the expanding blogosphere, which is establishing a fresh method of interactivity of which decision-makers should be aware. "Blogging suggests a way to go about the order of communication," said Sapan. "Everyone is knowledgeable now." Nat Geo Channel pres Laureen Ong said bloggers "effectively explained" many aspects and highlights of the net’s HD effort since launch.