LAPA Leased Access Programmers Association

LAPA president cite’s FCC action giving cable ad sales serious advantage over local business advertising

LAPA president cite’s FCC action giving cable ad sales serious advantage over local business advertising

The president of the national leased access programming association is charging FCC’s lack of action on overseeing leased access has resulted in cable operators today using market power and depriving LAPers (leased access programmers) of the ‘genuine outlet’ prescribed by Congress.

Charlie Stogner, LAPA president, says FCC’s refusal to issue rules regarding how cable sites are to handle IPTV delivery of leased access signals combined with site’s placing control over channel placement and technical handling under their own cable ad sales is resulting in severely suppressing LAPer’s ability to secure local business advertising.

Since FCC’s Media Bureau altered Section 76.971, 37 CFR (code of federal regulations               (disregarding language that states leased access programmers must be placed on a tier ‘used by most subscribers’ to a tier with only more than 50 percent, allowing cable to place it on digital channels with far fewer subscribers that those channels where cable places their own channels offering local commercial content as well as those where cable offers local ad inserts in national networks.

This results in cable offering local businesses advertising reaching far more potential viewers providing than what they permit leased access programming providing them decisive market power where using aggressive sales techniques the cable operator takes an majority of local advertising.   Today cable sites derive a considerable amount of revenue from advertising and local time sales..

In one case after moving local leased access programming to a channel with less subscribers than basic where many channels offering local ad inserts are located, a mid-level executive from one cable operator was so brash in responding to a local resident’s request to not move the local programming to a channel where local business advertising would not be received by most area cable subscribers by stating the cable operator’s has a “local sales office to help small businesses advertise specifically in the local area on major cable networks.”

Stogner says compounding a cable site’s market power over leased access is that today many sites have ad inserts and other content delivered to via the Internet to broadband modems in the headend connected to equipment that inserts content to the proper channel.

He says this is identical to how many LAPers deliver content. The only difference is FCC permits the operator to charge the LAPer for broadband service while providing it at no charge to their ad providers.

Of course, Stogner adds, FCC’s own rules require cable sites to provide technical service for leased access the same as they do non-leased providers and at the same cost.  Where FCC to enforce this rule, cable could not charge leased access for the service provided free to others.

"It is clear the Media Bureau has consistently and repeatedly ignored the leased access programmers concerns for many years. The failure of the Media Bureau to even mention leased access in the announcement seeking comment on the Status of Competition in the Market for the Delivery of Video Programming for the 17th Report confirms this fact.  No data from cable operators has ever been collected on the status of leased access. Now, no data is even being sought." Stogner said.   

 

Stogner’s filed comments are at http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/comment/view?id=60001098283