Big Broadcasters Extract Millions from Local Stations as Retrans Fees Soar

FCC Oversight of NextGenTV Transition Necessary to Protect Consumers  

Washington, D.C. – The American Television Alliance (ATVA), a voice for the TV viewer, today responded to a new market report from SNL Kagan that retrans fees are expected to soar to $12.8 billion by 2023, an 18 percent increase from 2016 levels.  The Big Four broadcast networks are taking about half of this enormous cash haul in the form of reverse compensation.  The report comes as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) considers the transition to NextGenTV, known as ATSC 3.0, and its potential impacts on consumers and retransmission consent.

“Retrans dollars meant to support local community broadcasters are being gobbled up by the Big Four broadcast networks,” said Trent Duffy, ATVA national spokesman.  “This is precisely why the FCC must take a hard look at the ancient rules on retransmission consent, must carry, and government-backed exclusivity.  These giveaways to the broadcast industry are directly responsible for skyrocketing fees and the record pace of blackouts this year.  These troubling trends should erase any doubts about the necessity for strong Commission oversight during the proposed NextGenTV transition.”

ATVA recently filed reply comments on the “Next Generation” Broadcast Television Standard.  ATVA’s comments focused on the broadcast industry’s abandonment of its original requirement to simulcast 1.0 signals in their current format.  ATVA wrote that, “This change of heart greatly increases the risk of harm to over-the-air and MVPD viewers alike.”

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The American Television Alliance (ATVA) brings together an unprecedented coalition of consumer groups, cable, satellite, telephone companies, and independent programmers to raise awareness about the risk TV viewers face as broadcasters increasingly threaten service disruptions that would deny viewers access to the programs they and their families enjoy. 

For more information about ATVA, visit our website. Follow us on Twitter @ATVAlliance.