Re: “Click hit again by higher station fees” (TNT, 3-23).
In the article, local TV stations are blamed for the high cost of pay TV bills. That is false. Local broadcast TV “retransmission consent” fees account for a very small portion of a cable or satellite TV bill – typically about $5 or $6 per month on a bill that often exceeds $100.
The culprit for high cable bills is the exorbitant fees paid to cable networks. Cable networks collectively receive seven times the amount of money annually than broadcast networks and their local affiliates – even though their viewership collectively is minuscule compared to local TV stations’ audience share.
Pay-TV providers also use questionable tactics to squeeze money from subscribers. Early termination fees, equipment rental charges and deceptive billing are all pay-TV traditions that lead to higher monthly bills. Earlier this month, the Federal Trade Commission sued DirecTV for using some of these practices to deceptively advertise the cost of its service.
Broadcasters reinvest programming fees back into local news, emergency weather coverage and popular entertainment content. Make no mistake: Broadcasters should be fairly compensated by pay-TV providers who resell our programming and built their businesses on the backs of our most-watched programming.
(Wharton is executive vice president for communications with the National Association of Broadcasters.)