My advertising agency has a potential client that wants to advertise on local cable. We are still pitching this client and are only providing a proposal which will include a cable advertising schedule. The local cable company will not give us a schedule to present unless we reveal who the advertiser is.
We have already worked with this cable system in a different location, never had this problem before and have spent over $25,000 last year buying time from them.
Legally can they refuse to furnish pricing and give us a schedule to buy cable?
Is this discrimination? Attempt to divise a monoply? Don't the cable systems by federal law have to provide rates becasue they are considered a utility?
Remember, we are their client, not our advertiser. (We sign a form making us responsible for payments, not our advertiser)
They claim that the advertiser can just get another bid from another cable rep and choose the lowest quote. Our claim is that the advertiser has not signed our ''Agency of Record'' agreement yet...so we have no protection of the cable company ''end-running'' us a few weeks later if our propsal and schedule is not accepted by the new advertser.
1 Answer from Attorneys
Cable companies are not utilities. They are, however, editors and can, therefore, refuse to carry anything they believe offends their sensibilities, etc.
You should ask them to sign a non-compete as to the unnamed would-be client to forestall what you fear. Beyond that, they can behave as poorly as they like -- it's their system. On the other hand, you can approach your local broadcasters about local avails.