American Cable Association President Matt Polka says Viacom’s denial of access to its web sites by broadband Internet subs of Cable One and other distributors with which Viacom is in a carriage dispute violates Internet openness and should raise warning flags in Washington.

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There are a lot of reasons to care about the Supreme Court showdown over Aereo — 3.3 billion to be exact. That’s how much the major broadcast networks pocket in so-called retransmission fees from charging cable and satellite companies to carry their local TV signals.

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The FCC unanimously votes to ban coordinated retrans negotiations among the top four TV stations in a market.

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The challenge to MVPDs comes in convincing programmers—the companies that crank out must-see shows such as Duck Dynasty or The Walking Dead—to let them offer some, but not all, of their channels.

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Imagine pulling up to the gas pump and finding that gas has gone from $3.50 a gallon to $6.00 – overnight. That’s the scale of some of these large increases.

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The National Cable Television Cooperative — which represents more than 800 primarily rural cable operators and negotiates programming deals on their behalf — charged that Viacom wants to dramatically increase the fees to carry its channels to prices that are 40 times greater than the rate of inflation.

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Disney, Time Warner, Viacom, Fox, NBCUniversal and CBS have all seen gains from ad growth and carriage fee negotiations, according to a THR analysis of data from the first three quarters of 2013.

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Two separate pieces of legislation were introduced in Congress on 12/12/13 that would upend retransmission consent after consumers have found broadcast channels blacked out over extended periods.

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DISH Network has appealed to the FCC to “immediately require Media General to negotiate in good faith to resolve a blackout that began Oct. 1.”

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Earlier this year, Cablevision Systems Corp. sued Viacom over its bundling of networks. Viacom, Cablevision charged, “effectively forces Cablevision’s customers to pay for and receive little-watched channels in order to get the channels they actually want.” Recently, Cable One tried to unbundle Turner Networks, but Turner said ‘no,’ took their 9 channels and went dark.

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