By Amy Maclean The decision by Reps. Nathan Deal (R-GA) and Charlie Bass (R-NH) not to introduce a retransmission consent amendment during the House Commerce Committee’s April markup of telecom legislation simply delayed the inevitable debate over whether retrans consent needs overhauling. The next step for retrans reform will be a roundtable or two with House Commerce chairman Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), which should set the stage for a renewed retrans focus in ’07. A key issue will be the changing media landscape, with the number of broadcast-owned cable nets growing from fewer than four in 1992 to nearly 50 in 2005, according to Kagan data. Those stats, retrans reform supporters argue, are evidence of the power broadcasters can wield. The broadcasters can tie retransmission of local signals to carriage of their cable networks, which opponents call an abuse of retrans. Whether the ACA and others can influence the course of debate remains to be seen. BROADCAST OWNERSHIP OF CABLE NETWORKS: 1992 VS. 2005 ABC/CAP CITIES 1992 ABC/DISNEY 2005 CBS 1992 CBS/VIACOM 2005 FOX/NEWS CORP. 1992 FOX/NEWS CORP. 2005 NBC/GENERAL ELECTRIC 1992 NBC/GENERAL ELECTRIC 2005 Source: Kagan Cable TV Programming Newsletter, April 30, 1992 Kagan Cable TV Programming Newsletter, May 2005

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