Programming Fees

What is retransmission consent?

Since 1992, television stations have been authorized by the U.S. Congress to grant or deny permission for a video service provider to carry their signals over cable lines to video customers. The name for this particular agreement is “retransmission consent.” This right is renewable and the duration of the agreement varies by video service providers. You can help by contacting your United States Congressman/woman, and tell him/her how you feel about these unfair laws and that we need to change them.

What is the GVTC Broadcast Fee?

The GVTC Broadcast Fee is a portion of the total fee being charged by the owners of broadcast TV stations to GVTC and other video service providers to retransmit the programs by those broadcast TV stations to our customers.

Broadcast TV stations have historically distributed their programming for free over the air. In order to receive the signal, all you need is a TV antenna. Broadcasters used to allow video service providers to retransmit their programming to their customers at no cost. However, these same broadcast TV stations now charge video service providers significant fees that increase annually to retransmit their signal to their customers. If video service providers do not pay those fees, the broadcasters will force them to drop their channels from our channel lineup.

Because of these significant fees and yearly increase, most video service providers have to charge Sports Broadcast and Broadcast Fee surcharges. GVTC only charges a Broadcast Fee surcharge.

How Programming Fees Affect You

The price that a customer pays each month for a video package is driven largely by the fees that video service providers like GVTC are required to pay in order to retransmit the programs from companies that create or package the programming (the broadcast TV stations and cable networks). Video service providers pay a set fee for every household that receives a given channel, regardless of whether anyone in that household watch the channel.

Those broadcast TV stations and cable networks can set certain rules or guidelines for how their shows and channels may be sold to customers. This often means that video service providers like GVTC must include less popular programming in the more popular video packages. Larger sports networks will many time add smaller regional sports networks to their channel offerings. These less popular regional sports networks can be contractually required to be carried on the video service provider’s lineups.

Additionally, local broadcast TV stations have also begun demanding significant fees to carry programming that they offer for free over the air and via the Internet. And many times these local broadcast TV stations will also contractually require video service providers to carry their primary channel as well as their secondary and less popular channels. At GVTC, we don’t think it’s fair to make our customers pay for programming that others are receiving for free, but this is controlled by the companies that create the programs and content.

These factors, combined with escalating fees, drive up your costs for video service. Due to this, many video service providers have begun charging Sports Broadcast and Broadcast Fee surcharges to offset these rising costs.

In the past few years, many video service providers have taken a stand against unreasonable fee increases by both cable networks and local broadcast TV stations. GVTC as well as many other video service providers are pushing back against TV networks that demand more money without delivering more value. Occasionally that push back results in a public dispute with both sides using TV, email, and other communication tactics to tell their side of the story. And customers are caught in the middle.

For more information on broadcast fees and retransmission consent, please visit www.tvonmyside.com.

Why am I paying this cost now?

These signals used to be made available to GVTC at no cost or low cost. However, the prices now demanded by broadcast TV station have become so extreme that we pass these costs on to our customers.

Where will I find the Broadcast Fee on my bill?

The Broadcast Fee surcharge will be found on your bill, under “Video Service” section, the “Taxes and Fees” sub category.

Are other cable companies charging these same fees, or just GVTC?

The majority of video service providers are now passing along whole or partial surcharges to their cable customers to cover programming fees and retransmission costs from local broadcast TV stations. And those who are not will probably begin doing so in the future as retransmission consent rates continue to rise. Many video service providers charge both a Sports Broadcast surcharge and a Broadcast Fee surcharge. GVTC only charges a Broadcast Fee surcharge.

Why can broadcast TV stations charge for carriage of their signals?

Broadcast TV stations distribute their signals over the air using free spectrum granted to them by the federal government. These same broadcast TV stations are then allowed by the government to charge for their signals. If GVTC does not agree to pay, broadcasters can force us to drop their channels, thereby adversely impact our customers.

How are local broadcast TV stations different from cable networks like Lifetime, MTV or HBO?

Local broadcast TV stations distribute their signals over the air using free spectrum granted to tem by the federal government. As well, these same broadcasters can agree to allow their signal to be retransmitted over cable lines. However, cable programmers have never distributed their signals over the air for free but have always sold their programming to cable service providers to be retransmitted over actual cables in your home.

Are all local broadcast or network-affiliated TV stations charging GVTC?

At this time, all broadcast TV stations with retransmission consent agreements require significant payment from any video service provider to retransmit their programming and it is their charges that are reflected in the Broadcast Fee.

Can you tell me what one TV station costs?

The broadcasters’ contract prohibit us from disclosing any information contained in an agreement with an individual broadcast TV station or cable network. The includes the fees they charge.