In the next couple of months you are going to be hearing a lot about “retransmission consent fees.” These fees are paid by us to local TV stations (affiliates) for the right to provide their signal to our customers. Local affiliates are the channels that broadcast network programming from ABC, CBS, NBC, etc.
This year, many stations are asking for far higher rates than in the past with some local stations requesting rate increases of nearly 300 percent! While we fully expect negotiations to result in a more positive outcome than triple-digit increases, if these affiliates hold firm it could result in the loss of these channels from our lineup.
Retransmission consent and other programming fees are one of the largest expenses faced by cable companies and while these agreements are nothing new, the increases asked for by stations across the country are growing at staggering rates. Many of our local stations are owned by large conglomerates who determine retransmission consent fees taking the decision making process out of the hands of the local affiliate.
Affiliates receive free government-issued spectrum to transmit their signal, even as they ask for higher retransmission consent fees. Great Plains Communications has invested heavily in providing the necessary infrastructure to bring cable services to your area. This includes laying and maintaining cable lines as well as creating partnerships with other companies to deliver the strongest signal possible.
Other companies have had to exercise extreme options, such as closing down cable systems or significantly raising customer rates. We’re working to find a solution that keeps rates low for us and our customers.
As the negotiations progress, Great Plains Communications will continue to provide up-to-date information to customers. Residents are encouraged to visit www.gpcom.com/retransmission for the latest information.