If TV blackouts are costing you your chance to watch Miracle on 34th Street, Rep. Anna Eshoo thinks you’ll like her latest bill. Not to be outdone, Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., is offering his own plan to end blackouts.
The Video CHOICE Act, introduced Thursday by California Democrats Eshoo and Rep. Zoe Lofgren, aims to reform retransmission consent policy — which has been a subject of heated discussion between broadcasters and pay TV providers. Scalise’s bill, also making its debut Thursday, would eliminate retransmission consent altogether.
Currently, cable and satellite companies are required to negotiate periodically with broadcast affiliates to determine how much they will pay to carry their programming. When the sides can’t agree on pricing, the provider loses the station and its subscribers get left in the dark.
Broadcasters say most blackouts are caused by pay TV providers unwilling to pay a fair price. Cable and satellite companies say the broadcasters are jacking up fees and reform is needed.
For example, many DISH Network subscribers in Montana won’t be able to watch NBC’s Christmas Eve broadcast of It’s A Wonderful Life unless Bonten Media Group resolves its dispute with the provider.
Eshoo says her bill would change that. It would give the Federal Communications Commission the ability to keep stations on the air even if negotiations are stalled. The bill would also allow providers to offer cable channels without forcing customers to subscribe to broadcast packages as well.
“My bill would put an end to broadcast television blackouts and ensure consumers aren’t held hostage by a dispute they have no control over,” Eshoo said in a release. She also said she would work with Scalise on addressing broadcast policies.
The National Association of Broadcasters quickly voiced its opposition. “Clearly, these two pieces of legislation are utterly inconsistent with each other, and we find it sad that pay TV companies who built their broadband, voice and video businesses on the backs of local TV signals now balk at the notion of paying a fair market rate for the most-watched programming on television,” the group said in a release.
On the other side of the issue, a coalition of pay TV providers hailed both members’ efforts. “[Both bills] would reform the current video market and protect consumers,” said a statement from the American Television Alliance. “While the bills reflect different approaches to reform, they show the ever-growing bipartisan support for immediate action to fix retransmission consent.”
What We're Following See More »
“In the spring of 1971, I met a girl,” started Bill Clinton. In his speech Tuesday night at the Democratic National Convention, Clinton brought a personal touch, telling parallel stories of his relationship with Hillary Clinton and the work she has done throughout her career. He lauded the Democratic nominee for her career of work, touching on her earliest days of advocacy for children and those with disabilities while in law school, her role as Secretary of State, and her work in raising their daughter, Chelsea. Providing a number of anecdotes throughout the speech, Clinton built to a crescendo, imploring the audience to support his wife for president. "You should elect her, she'll never quit when the going gets tough," he said. "Your children and grandchildren will be grateful."
A coalition of mothers whose children lost their lives in high profile cases across the country, known as the Mothers Of The Movement, were greeted with deafening chants of "Black Lives Matter" before telling their stories. The mothers of Sandra Bland, Jordan Davis, and Trayvon Martin spoke for the group, soliciting both tears and applause from the crowd. "Hillary Clinton has the compassion and understanding to comfort a grieving mother," said Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin. "And that's why, in the memory of our children, we are imploring you — all of you — to vote this election day."
With the South Dakota delegation announcing its delegate count, Hillary Rodham Clinton is officially the Democratic nominee for president, surpassing the 2383 delegates needed to clinch the nomination. Clinton is expected to speak at the convention on Thursday night and officially accept the nomination.
About 5,500, according to official estimates. "The Monday figures marked a large increase from the protests at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, where even the largest protests only drew a couple of hundred demonstrators. But it’s a far cry from the 35,000 to 50,000 that Philadelphia city officials initially expected."
Only a day after FiveThirtyEight's Now Cast gave Donald Trump a 57% chance of winning, the New York Times' Upshot fires back with its own analysis that shows Hillary Clinton with a 68% chance to be the next president. Its model "calculates win probabilities for each state," which incorporate recent polls plus "a state's past election results and national polling." Notably, all of the battleground states that "vote like the country as a whole" either lean toward Clinton or are toss-ups. None lean toward Trump.