U.S. TV Stations Seek Retransmission Fees From Canadian Cable and Satellite TV Services

The cross-border affiliates of the major networks want consent and compensation rights now given to broadcasters here.

TORONTO – U.S. cross-border TV stations are the latest interest group aiming to pick the pockets of Canadian cable and satellite TV subscribers.

The U.S. Television Coalition, a consortium of five local stations, on Thursday called for “fair treatment” in the way of retransmission fees from Canadian cable, satellite and Internet TV providers that distribute their signals to customers north of the border.

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“It is regrettable that imported U.S. TV stations are denied consent and remuneration rights under Canada’s new distant station retransmission regime,” Marla Drutz, vp and GM of the NBC affiliate WDIV-TV in Detroit, said in a statement.

Susan Wenz, program director at KSTP-TV, an ABC affiliate in Minneapolis, echoed frustration that U.S. cross-border TV stations are not included under recently inked consent and remuneration policies in the Canadian TV sector.

Canadians living close to the U.S. border have long received local ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, CW and other American channels as part of their subscription packages from domestic cable and satellite TV operators.

Canada’s broadcasting distribution regulations were reworked last year to provide first-time retransmission rights to Canadian broadcasters that supply distant signals to local cable and satellite TV providers.

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American TV stations imported into Canada now want the same retransmission rights under the new distant station regime.

Canadian cable and satellite TV operators opposed the introduction of retransmission rights for local broadcasters and threatened to pass on distant signal compensation onto their subscribers.

The U.S. TV station coalition includes WHEC, the NBC affiliate in Rochester, N.Y.; and the CBS affiliates WIVB-TV and WNLO-TV in Buffalo.