There is an issue...
Most customers are stupid. Sure, that's a mean thing to say but it's the truth. Here's why.
Say you're on Time Warner. The local CBS station decides to jack up it's retrans rates. Time Warner balks. CBS station yanks it's feeds from TW. Time Warner holds strong. Customers run from Time Warner to a competitor. Time Warner loses customers so they finally have to give in and jack rates.
Two months later everyone who ran off to that competitor then find out the competitor just got hit for higher fees from the same CBS station. Same things happen. So they run off to DirecTV.
Two months later everyone who ran off to DirecTV then find out the same CBS station has now come after DirecTV so they run off to Dish. Same result.
If the customers weren't so dumb they would stand strong with their provider and demand the provider make one offer - keep the rates the same or be dropped permanently. Or offer customers the chance to opt out of said channel and keep everything else.
In short - until people kick these broadcasters square in the teeth they are going to continue to demand more and more money every single year - costs the providers will have to pass off to you. There is only one villain and that is the people demanding retrans rights because - the more viewers the more ad revenue - the less viewers the less ad revenue. If you dump 20 million people on DirecTV their ad revenue will take a MASSIVE hit.
Remember who has control here. It's not the broadcaster...it's YOU.
Act like it.
The consumer, regardless of their intelligence level, has no real control in this market at all. What about the millions of people that stayed with their provider and were willing to do without CBS, Disney, Viacom, or whatever flavor of the month renegotiation was taking place?
The only option a consumer can take that will impact this broken business model is to drop their subscription TV completely once the provider signs a new contract at a much higher rate. What kind of consumer choice is that?
You go first, I'll be right behind you.
A similar business model is taking root online as well with such sites as ESPN 3 that forces a provider to pay them millions so that their subscribers can legitimately gain access to the service. They won't allow a consumer to pay $20 per month to access the site, there is no option available for this, and the broadcasters don't ever want you or me to have this level of control over the market.