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DiamondNet has announced that the retransmission fees for their video product will increase beginning with the January 2021 billing statements.
As an operator of a cable television service, programming fees has become a major concern in the last five years. One segment of these fees, Retransmission Fees, has caused significant rate issues for our cable television product. For the upcoming year our Retransmission Fees will increase from the current $19.42 to $27.46, a 41% increase in just one year. Regrettably, this increase will be reflected in your January billing statement.
What is Retransmission Fees? Retransmission Fees are programming fees charged by the Big 4 programmers (ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC). A nearly three-decade old federal law allows these broadcasters to charge fees to local cable providers for the rights to carry, or “retransmit”, their signals on cable TV systems. These fees are negotiated with the programmers every three years. Retransmission consent fees cost the U.S. cable companies and customers a total of $11.7 billion in 2019. By 2024, these fees are expected to exceed $16 billion. DiamondNet does not keep any of these fees.
These fees have increased rapidly over the last decade as local Big 4 stations have aggressively negotiated for higher fees by leveraging their programming content and sports rights. The Big 4 representatives who negotiate these deals don’t live and work in our community, so they are not negatively impacted by the outcomes of these negotiations as we all are. We also use the term “negotiations” lightly, as the programmers will very rarely negotiate any decreases in their fees, even as their viewership declines.
Being located in Eastern Oklahoma next to Arkansas, DiamondNet is required to carry the Big 4 affiliated stations located in Western Arkansas. By carrying these “must carry” stations, we are able to also carry the Big 4 stations out of Tulsa, OK. Please note, DiamondNet is not allowed to carry the Tulsa Big 4 Stations without carrying the Arkansas stations. Due to the escalating cost DiamondNet could drop these stations, but we recognize that these stations are valuable to our customers, and dropping these stations would hurt our community and our system.
The City of Sallisaw takes pride in being one of many municipal governments offering high quality Fiber to the Home services to their residents. We share your desire for the lowest price quality TV programming. We will continue to fight for fair agreements with corporate broadcasters that will allow continued access to many TV programs you have come to love and expect to watch.