Broadcaster Magazine

US Broadcasters Seek Retransmission Fees

A coalition of American television stations wants compensation from Canadian cable, satellite and Internet TV providers that distribute their signals to viewers in this country.

The near-border affiliate stations represent the major U.S. networks, and they want consent and compensation rights now given to broadcasters here, an approach they call “fair treatment”.

The coalition includes WIVB and WNLO, Buffalo stations that carry the CBS signal; the Minneapolis-based ABC affiliate KSTP; NBC affiliate WDIV in Detroit; and the NBC affiliate in Rochester, N.Y., WHEC.

“It is regrettable that imported U.S. TV stations are denied consent and remuneration rights under Canada’s new distant station retransmission regime,” said Marla Drutz, Vice President and General Manager of WDIV-TV in Detroit, Michigan.

“Given the success and importance of the Canada-U.S. trade partnership,” said Susan Wenz, Program Director at KSTP-TV in Minneapolis, Minnesota, “we remain hopeful this unfair situation will be put right by Canada and our U.S. stations will be included under the consent and remuneration provisions.”

“Our channels deliver value for Canadians,” said Chris Musial, General Manager for WIVB and WNLO-TV in Buffalo, New York. “We expect the right to negotiate appropriate compensation for the full value that our signals and programming deliver to Canadian markets.”

Canada’s boadcast distribution regulations were amended in 2011 providing retransmission consent and new remuneration rights for operators of distant TV stations, amid much discussion and debate about ‘fee-for-service’ or fee-for-carriage’ in this country.

American TV stations imported into Canada say they are being denied an equitable and nondiscriminatory right of remuneration exercisable under conditions set out in the new distant station regime.

The U.S. Television Coalition is a trade alliance of American TV stations with signals imported and retransmitted in markets across Canada. The coalition is calling for fair treatment including consent and remuneration rights under Canada’s distant station regulations.