By Daniel Frankel, FierceCable, September 8, 2014
The Senate version of satellite reauthorization will indeed include Local Choice, a controversial Commerce Committee proposal that essentially strips broadcast channels out of the pay-TV bundle.
A draft of the Senate committee's version of the Satellite Television Access and Viewer Rights Act (STAVRA), complete with Local Choice language, was circulated Friday in advance of a meeting with broadcast lobbyists--who were undoubtedly unpleased to see Local Choice included.
The National Association of Broadcasters-backed group TVFreedom.org immediately responded with the following statement: "Given the Local Choice proposal's negative impact on competition--as well as America's television viewers and local TV stations--little justification exists for Congressional haste to pass such legislation by year's end. Any Congressional bill that includes the components of the Local Choice proposal will ultimately cost pay-TV consumers more for less programming under an unproven and often criticized a la carte model, drive local TV stations off the air and completely fail to address true market failures that harm American consumers as a result of the deceptive billing practices of cable and satellite TV providers. In this instance, STAVRA as being presented publicly, is nothing more than a pay-TV giveaway."