Broadcaster Trade Group Slams Time Warner Cable for Strong Earnings

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UPDATED: The NAB argues that the cable giant's latest financials show that retransmission consent fees are not responsible for rising cable bills.

NEW YORK - The National Association of Broadcasters came out swinging against Time Warner Cable on Friday, following the second-largest cable operator's stronger-than-expected earnings report on Thursday.

It argued that the company's latest financials show that retransmission consent fees that broadcasters have started charging pay TV firms aren't the financial burden that cable and satellite TV companies have said they are.

"Given that Time Warner Cable just announced a quarterly net income increase of 44 percent and annual profits of $1.3 billion, it's time for pay TV's poster child for skyrocketing rates to come clean on retransmission consent," said NAB executive vp of communications Dennis Wharton in a statement. "Time Warner and its front group the American Television Alliance claims that broadcast retransmission consent fees are responsible for escalating cable rates. That claim is false." 

He said that local TV station carriage fees account for less than 1 percent of monthly cable bills, which on average have risen at a rate faster than inflation, according to research firm SNL Kagan.

TW Cable wasn’t available for a comment. "We’re surprised that NAB wants to engage in a discussion about corporate financial results at a time when executives of its member companies have publicly bragged that earnings will be driven by dramatic increases in retransmission consent fees," said the American Television Alliance. "As one broadcast network executive said last year about retrans fees, “the sky’s the limit.”


Twitter: @georgszalai

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