As expected, the Federal Communications Commission made no immediate changes to retransmission rules Thursday, but the panel's members warned broadcasters and cable companies not to use the FCC's decision to review the rules as an excuse to back out of negotiations.
The commission unanimously voted to consider and seek comment on potential changes to TV retransmission rules, which govern how cable companies or other video distributors retransmit broadcast stations. Recent high-profile disputes between cable and satellite TV carriers and broadcasters have led to millions of viewers in the dark when programming is pulled. And right now a spat between Dish Network Corp. and Lin TV Corp. is threatening to cause another "blackout."
Among the potential changes to be examined are measures that would provide more guidance about good-faith negotiating requirements, improve notice requirements for consumers, and eliminating rules that provide for contract enforcement through the FCC, rather than through the courts.