Welcome!

News Feed Item

Smaller Cable Companies, Larger Programmers Have Long Benefited From Buying Groups Like NCTC

The American Cable Association urged the Federal Communications Commission to recognize in its new video competition report to Congress the important role of buying groups in lowering the costs of conducting business between national cable programmers and 900 small and medium-sized multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs).

“Without a buying group like the National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC), customers of small and medium-sized cable operators would pay higher fees for their television service. This buying group creates substantial efficiencies for programmers and hundreds of smaller cable operators, and the cost savings are passed through to consumers,” ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said. “A report on video competition to Congress would be lacking if it failed to acknowledge the vital role of buying groups.”

ACA set forth its views in comments (click here to view full document) filed March 21 with the FCC in connection with the preparation of its new video competition report to Congress. ACA’s comments underscored some key facts and trends, including that nearly all independent cable operators and all programmers with the most widely distributed national cable networks rely on the NCTC to serve as a facilitator in the purchase of programming, helping to moderate transaction costs for its members and programmers alike. NCTC was organized by a dozen small and medium-sized MVPDs for the purpose of serving as a buying group and creating efficiencies in the acquisition of video programming. Today, the NCTC has 890 member companies and has been successfully negotiating programming agreements on behalf of its members for 30 years.

NCTC has master agreements with all of the Kagan Top-25 national cable networks and 46 of the Top 50. NCTC members’ subscribers have never collectively lost any networks. Members of NCTC do not rely on the NCTC to negotiate carriage of broadcast television stations and regional sports networks. Negotiations for regional networks and local stations are conducted by cable operators on their own.

Of NCTC’s 890 members, more than half serve 1,000 or fewer subscribers. The median size of an NCTC member is 1,500 subscribers. Of NCTC’s 25 largest members, the four largest do not currently license substantial amounts of programming through the buying group. However, the remaining 21 of this group do license substantial amounts of programming through the NCTC. NCTC members outside its 25 largest members generally rely even more heavily on NCTC to secure their programming.

NCTC plays a similar role with respect to service and equipment vendors, thus allowing its members to realize additional efficiencies in other areas. By recognizing the vital role of buying groups in assisting small and medium-sized MVPDs in its video competition report, the FCC can present a more realistic assessment of the state of the video distribution marketplace in 2013.

The importance of a buying group like NCTC is buttressed further by data and information provided in ACA’s comments that smaller cable operators are continuing to exit the market and close their systems owing to a few factors, rising programming costs chief among them. In its last report, the FCC noted that in the previous five years, nearly 800 cable systems serving more than 35,000 subscribers in mostly small and rural communities had closed, leaving those communities without any wireline MVPD. Based on new NCTC-supplied data, since 2008, NCTC members closed a total of 1,078 small and rural cable systems, the vast majority of which reflect systems that have ceased providing video service in their communities. At the time of their closing, these systems served about 50,000 subscribers.

“In order for the FCC to give Congress an accurate picture of the health of the video distribution markets, it is essential that it include in the 16th Report data revealing the overall decrease in the number of cable systems,” Polka said.

Lastly, ACA urged the FCC to report on the increasing trend of cable companies that either directly own or have attributable interests in video programming. A programmer affiliated with a cable operator has the incentive and ability to engage in unfair practices, such as charging its cable systems’ rivals much more for its networks than it charges itself and non-rival MVPDs.

ACA noted that the latest outbreak of vertical integration stated in early 2011 when Comcast acquired NBC Universal. The trend continued in early 2013 when Liberty Media purchased a controlling interest in Charter Communications. Because John Malone holds a substantial interest in Charter through his stake in Liberty Media, as well as interests in Discovery Communications and Starz, all of the companies are now effectively operated under his unified control.

ACA also noted that if Comcast, which already owns NBC Universal, is permitted to acquire Time Warner Cable, the second largest cable operator with 11.1 million video subscribers, vertical integration in the cable industry will grow even more.

“ACA is concerned that the revival of vertical integration – meaning the common ownership of cable systems and programming channels – will cause independent cable operators to pay more for programming, and these higher costs will mean higher costs for their customers,” Polka said.

About the American Cable Association
Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing nearly 850 smaller and medium-sized, independent cable companies who provide broadband services for nearly 7 million cable subscribers primarily located in rural and smaller suburban markets across America. Through active participation in the regulatory and legislative process in Washington, D.C., ACA's members work together to advance the interests of their customers and ensure the future competitiveness and viability of their business. For more information, visit http://www.americancable.org/.

More Stories By Business Wire

Copyright © 2009 Business Wire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Business Wire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Business Wire. Business Wire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that DatacenterDynamics has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. DatacenterDynamics is a brand of DCD Group, a global B2B media and publishing company that develops products to help senior professionals in the world's most ICT dependent organizations make risk-based infrastructure and capacity decisions.
The standardization of container runtimes and images has sparked the creation of an almost overwhelming number of new open source projects that build on and otherwise work with these specifications. Of course, there's Kubernetes, which orchestrates and manages collections of containers. It was one of the first and best-known examples of projects that make containers truly useful for production use. However, more recently, the container ecosystem has truly exploded. A service mesh like Istio addr...
Most DevOps journeys involve several phases of maturity. Research shows that the inflection point where organizations begin to see maximum value is when they implement tight integration deploying their code to their infrastructure. Success at this level is the last barrier to at-will deployment. Storage, for instance, is more capable than where we read and write data. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Josh Atwell, a Developer Advocate for NetApp, will discuss the role and value...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busi...
Nicolas Fierro is CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions. He is a programmer, technologist, and operations dev who has worked with Ethereum and blockchain since 2014. His knowledge in blockchain dates to when he performed dev ops services to the Ethereum Foundation as one the privileged few developers to work with the original core team in Switzerland.
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists examined how DevOps helps to meet the de...
"When you think about the data center today, there's constant evolution, The evolution of the data center and the needs of the consumer of technology change, and they change constantly," stated Matt Kalmenson, VP of Sales, Service and Cloud Providers at Veeam Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Today, we have more data to manage than ever. We also have better algorithms that help us access our data faster. Cloud is the driving force behind many of the data warehouse advancements we have enjoyed in recent years. But what are the best practices for storing data in the cloud for machine learning and data science applications?
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...
Andi Mann, Chief Technology Advocate at Splunk, is an accomplished digital business executive with extensive global expertise as a strategist, technologist, innovator, marketer, and communicator. For over 30 years across five continents, he has built success with Fortune 500 corporations, vendors, governments, and as a leading research analyst and consultant.
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science" is responsible for guiding the technology strategy within Hitachi Vantara for IoT and Analytics. Bill brings a balanced business-technology approach that focuses on business outcomes to drive data, analytics and technology decisions that underpin an organization's digital transformation strategy.
DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term.
Headquartered in Plainsboro, NJ, Synametrics Technologies has provided IT professionals and computer systems developers since 1997. Based on the success of their initial product offerings (WinSQL and DeltaCopy), the company continues to create and hone innovative products that help its customers get more from their computer applications, databases and infrastructure. To date, over one million users around the world have chosen Synametrics solutions to help power their accelerated business or per...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICOHOLDER named "Media Sponsor" of Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO. ICOHOLDER gives detailed information and help the community to invest in the trusty projects. Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO has opened its Call for Papers. The two-day event will present 20 top Blockchain experts. All speaking inquiries which covers the following information can be submitted by email to [email protected] Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPOalso offers sp...
Sanjeev Sharma Joins November 11-13, 2018 @DevOpsSummit at @CloudEXPO New York Faculty. Sanjeev Sharma is an internationally known DevOps and Cloud Transformation thought leader, technology executive, and author. Sanjeev's industry experience includes tenures as CTO, Technical Sales leader, and Cloud Architect leader. As an IBM Distinguished Engineer, Sanjeev is recognized at the highest levels of IBM's core of technical leaders.