On Tuesday, the STELA bill passed the House of Representatives under suspension of the rules, with a voice vote. This bill is the House Commerce bill merged with the clean Judiciary bill. NAB took a neutral position on this bill, which does the following: (1) Extends expiring STELA provisions for another five-year term; (2) Prohibits joint retransmission consent negotiations; (3) Provides broadcasters additional time to unwind JSAs; (4) Eliminates the “sweeps” week prohibition; (5) Requires a DMA study; and (6) Eliminates the cable set-top box integration ban.
NAB will continue to advocate for a “clean” STELA in the Senate. Adding to the call for a clean STELA bill was Comcast’s David Cohen in his merger testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee. Chairman Rockefeller (WV) and Ranking Member Thune (SD) announced they will consider their STELA bill in September which leaves few legislative days to complete their bill.
NAB is undertaking a coordinated strategy to fight the joint retrans ban, sweeps modifications, basic tier, online blocking and potential DMA modifications.