Paul Karpowicz, speaking for the NAB, told a Senate subcommittee last week that broadcasters will not oppose allowing satellite-delivered distant signals to viewers who might not qualify since the digital transition.
Karpowicz, president of Meredith Broadcasting Group and a member of the NAB TV Board, said “in the spirit of compromise, we will not oppose satellite carriers retaining their existing lawful distant signal subscribers who were unable to receive a Grade B analog signal from a local network station — even though those subscribers may now (post-digital transition) receive a perfectly good digital network signal from that same local network station.”
Speaking at a Senate Communications Subcommittee hearing last week, Karpowicz said, however, that the NAB does not support allowing the importation of a distant stand-alone digital signal (that had no analog complement) or a multicast version of a network affiliate if viewers can now get a local digital version.
The hearing was on the Satellite TV Modernization Act, legislation that would reauthorize the satellite compulsory license. Such a license permits the importation of distant TV network affiliate signals into markets that can’t get a viewable signal of a local affiliate of the same network.
Broadcasters don’t want the reauthorization bill to become an excuse for “reopening a range of well-established retransmission consent issues.” They also don’t want the legislation to allow satellite operators and cable operators to import adjacent-market affiliates to address the so-called split-market issue.
The Senate Judiciary Committee has already approved the bill. The House version, which is slightly different, allows Dish Network to get back into the distant-signal business in exchange for delivering the local stations in all 210 markets. The Senate version of the bill has no such provision.