What is the Broadcast Retransmission Fee?
A 1992 federal law empowers broadcasters, including corporations that own TV stations such as ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC, to charge fees to local cable providers like Arvig, for the right to carry or “retransmit” their signals.
Why are broadcast fees going up?
Broadcasters are facing shrinking audiences, and therefore, are increasing rates to make up for lost advertising revenue.
Plus, large corporations own more and more local TV stations and use their size and power to their advantage: making smaller operators (like Arvig) pay more!
Isn't programming from my broadcasters free?
While broadcasters offer their signals for free over the air, cable providers can't offer these signals to cable customers without their permission. We need to pay fees to the broadcasters to get that permission.
How often are contracts negotiated?
Most contracts are negotiated in either a three or five-year cycle. However, the rate structure on almost all contracts include a yearly incremental increase on the fees we must pay to the content providers for each and every customer on a monthly basis.
Will my bill go up again next year?
Yes. It is very likely, come next year, that your bill will increase again. The contracts we sign are multi-year carriage deals, often requiring us to pay more each year for the remainder of our contract. Rising programming costs affect all providers, including Dish and DirecTV. Streaming platforms, like SlingTV and YouTube TV are also raising prices, citing rising programming fees.
I pay a lot for my cable service. Can't you use that money to pay for this increase?
Rising programming costs affect ALL providers, including DIRECTV, Dish, Hulu and other streaming services, and increase your bill every year. We absorb as much of these increases as possible but are not able to cover all of them. We will continue to strive to keep future price increases to a minimum by negotiating hard for you with all programmers.
Why can't I just pay for the channels I want?
Arvig is often required to “bundle” cable channels that are highly viewed with additional channels that are less popular. Programmers don’t only force us to pay for these channels, but they also tell us how we have to bundle them for our customers. We don’t think this is fair—and we know you don’t think it is either—but we typically have to agree to these terms in order to continue carriage of your favorite channels. We continue to explore ways to provide you the channels you want at an affordable price.
Want more information about the cost of cable television?
TVonMySide.com, a website developed by the National Cable Television Cooperative is a resource to help customers understand trends and keep track of disputes related to the cost of cable TV.
Why won’t you just pay what they are asking?
As a local business, we can thrive only when we deliver services at the best possible value. We are actively working toward an agreement that does not burden our customers with excessive price increases. With the hundreds of channels we offer our customers, imagine the impact on your monthly bill if we just agreed to pay networks whatever they asked.
Why does Arvig use a negotiating agent?
Using a negotiating agent like NCTC provides us more buying power than handling the negotiations independently. Because NCTC represents 700 providers who service more than 4 million subscribers total, they can often get us a better deal during negotiations.
Will you offer a refund if these networks are dropped?
The only way these networks will be lost is if the broadcaster(s) turn them off. We expect to have to pay for their services even if they pull their signals for a few days. However, if we don’t have to pay for these signals for any period of time, we will review our options to offer a refund of that amount to customers.