Syndication exclusivity

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Syndication exclusivity, or syndex, is a federal regulation enacted to protect local television media's ownership of syndicated programming and network affiliation.

The first edition of syndex came in the 1970s with the birth of the cable television industry. The original superstation, WTBS, was subject to syndex across the country where duplication existed. In addition, this syndex law applied to almost all programming. In order to grow the cable market, the FCC lifted the old syndex law in the early 1980s.

As cable television grew, local media noticed superstations like WGN-TV and WTBS were beginning to chip away at the ratings of duplicate programming on local television stations. This convinced the FCC to create a new syndex regulation, which was tied into the Satellite Home Viewer Act of 1988. The new syndex law allowed local stations to prevent out-of-market superstations, which paid local programming rates for national carriage on cable, from infringing on their advertising revenue and ratings by having the cable providers block out this duplicated programming airing on the superstations.

See also