Category Archives: Press Releases

ATVA Puts Down Marker Against Potential Breach of Local Station Ownership Limits by Sinclair-Tribune Merger

Warns That Ownership of Multiple Stations in Top 4 Markets Would Stick Consumers with Higher Fees and More Blackouts

 Washington, D.C. – The American Television Alliance (ATVA), a voice for the TV viewer, today filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) expressing its concern that Sinclair’s proposed acquisition of Tribune would give Sinclair ownership of multiple top-four affiliates in numerous markets, in violation of the FCC’s local ownership rules.  ATVA supports adherence to the FCC’s media ownership rules and agrees with Sinclair that the Commission cannot grant its merger application at this time with respect to the duopolies created in markets like Seattle, St. Louis, and Oklahoma City.

“Retrans fees have risen by double digits year-over-year in each of the past four years, making retrans fees the fastest rising part of pay-TV customers’ bills.  Giving Sinclair a pass on local ownership limits in places like Seattle, St. Louis and Oklahoma City would all but guarantee more blackouts and higher prices for consumers in those markets,” said Trent Duffy, a spokesman for the coalition.”

Sinclair has indicated that it “may file amendments” to their merger application should the Commission relax local ownership rules.  In its filing, ATVA told the FCC that it would object to any subsequent attempts by Sinclair to authorize new ‘top-four duopolies’ unless the Commission also takes steps to limit the unreasonable pricing power that such duopolies would create.

ATVA’s filing summarized the concerns with duopolies: “Three years ago, the Commission voted unanimously to prohibit a single entity from negotiating on behalf of two top-four stations in a market because it harms competition and gives that broadcaster pricing power in retransmission consent negotiations.  All five Commissioners agreed this was sound policy because, when a single entity negotiates retransmission consent for two top-four stations, it can command fees between 20 and 43 percent higher than can a single top-four station.”

Sinclair Broadcasting Group and Tribune Media are responsible for 139 blackouts combined since 2012, more blackouts than any single broadcaster in that timeframe.

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The American Television Alliance (ATVA), a voice for the TV viewer, 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.

Broadcasters Jack Up Fees While Ratings Plummet

Pew Research Shows Nightly News Viewers Down 31% since 2007; Retrans fees rose 2,426% in same period

Washington, D.C. – Broadcasters continue to charge pay-TV subscribers ever-increasing fees for ‘free TV’ as the number of people watching local news has plummeted, concludes a new study by Pew Research on current trends in local television.  According to the analysis, in 2016, viewership for network local affiliate news stations (ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC) declined in key time slots – morning, early evening and late night, according to Pew’s analysis of Nielsen data. The report found that, “since 2007, the average audience for late night newscasts has declined 31%, while morning audience declined 12% and early evening audience fell 19%.”  In that same period, retrans fees increased 2,426% (no, that’s not a typo) rising from $314 million in 2007 to $7.933 billion in 2016.

“Broadcasters have perfected the art of how to make good money in bad faith,” said ATVA national spokesman Trent Duffy.  “Charging cable and satellite subscribers higher and higher fees to access broadcast stations with plunging viewership is an outrage.  In a free market, when demand for a product or service falls, so should the price.  In fact, there is an inverse relationship between viewership and price for broadcasters. Why? Because broadcasters use the threat of a station blackout to coerce payments of higher and higher fees.”

Retrans fees continue to skyrocket, and are expected to soar to $12.8 billion by 2023, an 18 percent increase from 2016 levels, according to a recent market report from SNL Kagan.

The Pew study is another compelling reason why the FCC should review the ancient rules on retransmission consent, must carry, government-backed exclusivity and other broadcast industry giveaways.  These government advantages are directly responsible for skyrocketing fees and the record pace of station blackouts this year.

2017 is on pace to have the most TV blackouts ever in a single year.  Broadcasters have pulled the plug on consumers 145 times so far this year, leaving consumers in the dark for nearly every marquee television event this year, including: Super Bowl, NFL and College Football post season games, the Grammys, and network TV premiers earlier this year.  Absent reform from Congress and the Federal Communications Commission, consumers can expect to see more blank screens in the coming month as broadcasters continue to demand more in fees.

These troubling trends should erase any doubts about the necessity for strong Commission oversight during the proposed NextGenTV transition.

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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.

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.

ATVA Files Reply Comments on “Next Generation” Broadcast Television Standard

Washington, D.C. – The American Television Alliance (ATVA), a voice for the TV viewer, today 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. It should also erase any doubts about the necessity for Commission oversight of the proposed transition.”

“The broadcast industry has pulled a classic bait and switch with the Commission and the American people,” said Trent Duffy, ATVA national spokesman. “Broadcasters have walked away from their promise of a ‘voluntary’ transition, and their recent proposals threaten to strand who rely on broadcasters for news, information, and entertainment.

“ATVA’s comments emphasize our belief that the transition should be completely voluntary. Broadcasters do not operate in a vacuum, and they do not have the right to impose new costs or burdens on others. We have full confidence that in light of the backsliding from the broadcast industry, the Commission will protect Pay-tv and over-the-air consumers from harm.”

ATVA’s full comments to the FCC can be viewed here.

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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.

ATVA Files Comments on “Next Generation” Broadcast Television Standard

Washington, D.C. – The American Television Alliance (ATVA), a voice for the TV viewer, today filed comments on the “Next Generation” Broadcast Television Standard that is before the Federal Communications Commission.  The transition to the new broadcast standard will affect every American TV viewer, including the vast majority of Americans who receive their television signals from cable, satellite and IP television providers.  ATVA asked the Commission to ensure two overriding policy objectives:

  • that the transition is completely voluntary for all participants, and
  • the new standard does not harm others in the television ecosystem by imposing new cost burdens on consumers and other participants.

“The transition to a new broadcast standard will impact each and every American who watches television,” said Trent Duffy, ATVA national spokesman.  “ATVA’s comments reflect our belief that the transition should be completely voluntary and do no harm to others.  We all support the concept of ‘permissionless innovation,’ but broadcasters do not operate in a vacuum, and they do not have the right to impose new costs or burdens on others.  We have full confidence that the Commission will proceed carefully, and fully consider the implications for everyone involved in the television ecosystem.”

ATVA’s full comments to the FCC can be viewed here.

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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.

Broadcasters Go Nuclear on Blackouts

 

Consumers Hit with More Blackouts in First Four Months of 2017 than All of 2016
NCAA Basketball Tournament, Super Bowl, Grammys, Network Premiers Among the Causalities as Broadcasters Go Nuclear   

Washington, D.C. – 2017 is on pace to have the most blackouts ever in a single year, as consumers have endured 142 blackouts so far in 2017, more in the first four months than in all of 2016.  The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, including last weekend’s Final Four contests and tonight’s national championship game are among the marquee events broadcasters are holding for ransom, using blackouts to leverage fee increases on pay-TV customers.  Broadcasters also blacked out the Super Bowl, NFL and College Football post season games, the Grammys, and network TV premiers earlier this year.

Broadcast retransmission fees are increasing at an astronomical rate, and will cost U.S. consumers and satellite and cable operators $10.6 billion by 2020, according to industry research firm SNL Kagan. Axios recently reported that “since 2010, broadcast and cable companies have raised retransmission rates more than 3700%, in an effort to make up for lost revenue from rising programming costs and declining ad revenues.”

“After being at war with consumers for the past 10 years, broadcasters have gone nuclear in 2017,” said ATVA spokesman Trent Duffy. “There is no event that broadcasters aren’t willing to hold for ransom, telling consumers and fans to pay higher TV fees or you’ll miss the big game or marquee television event.  It’s a shameless shakedown that hurts fans and families.  Congress and the FCC should act to stop the blackout war on consumers.”

SJL Broadcasting recently pulled its signals from DIRECTV customers’ homes in three cities, including the local CBS stations in Corning, NY and Erie, PA that are broadcasting the NCAA Final Four Men’s National Semifinals basketball games this weekend. In another dispute, Hearst Television’s ongoing blackout of DISH Network has left fans without access to their local CBS channel in Louisville, KY and Des Moines, IA.  College basketball fans are currently without their local CBS programming in the following markets:

  • Anchorage, AK: Denali Media is blacking out DIRECTV customers
  • Juneau, AK: Denali Media is blacking out DIRECTV customers
  • Corning, NY: SJL Broadcasting is blacking out DIRECTV customers
  • Erie, PA: SJL Broadcasting is blacking out DIRECTV customers
  • Louisville, KY: Hearst Television is blacking out DISH Network customers
  • Des Moines, IA: Hearst Television is blacking out DISH Network customers

TV Blackout Crisis: Blackouts Break Records As Broadcasters Rake In More Money from Viewers

TV blackouts hit a record in 2015, affecting 12 million Americans.  Since 2010, millions of Americans have seen dark screens instead of watching their favorite channels.  With 142 blackouts already this year, 2017 is on pace to be the worst year for blackouts ever.

  • 142 blackouts to date in 2017 – smashing previous Q1 records
  • 104 blackouts in 2016
  • 193 blackouts in 2015
  • 94 blackouts in 2014
  • 119 blackouts in 2013
  • 90 blackouts in 2012
  • 42 blackouts in 2011
  • 8 blackouts in 2010

When blackouts finally end, consumers get their programming back, but at a higher cost:

  • SNL Kagan also projects that over time that 50% of affiliates’ retrans payments will go to the networks rather than pay for local programming.
  • SNL Kagan data shows that retrans fees are the fastest rising part of programming costs
  • Retrans fees have grown an astonishing 22,400% [no, that’s not a typo] since 2005 and more troubling, have seen 40% annual increases over the last 3 years.

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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.

 

NO JOKE: SJL Broadcasting Blacks Out Final Four for DIRECTV Subscribers in New York and Pennsylvania

 

Washington, D.C. – SJL Broadcasting has pulled its signals from DIRECTV customers’ homes in three cities, including the local CBS stations in Corning, NY and Erie, PA that are broadcasting the NCAA Final Four Men’s National Semifinals basketball games this weekend.  Broadcasters are once again using blackouts as a weapon against consumers in a naked attempt to get consumers to pay higher TV fees.

SJL Broadcasting’s blackout of six local broadcast stations affects DIRECTV subscribers in Pennsylvania, New York and Hawaii.  In another dispute, Hearst Television’s ongoing blackout of DISH Network has left fans without access to their local CBS channel in Louisville, KY and Des Moines, IA.

“It is simply outrageous that a broadcaster can unilaterally pull the plug on tens of thousands of consumers on the morning of one of the biggest sporting events of the year,” said ATVA national spokesman Trent Duffy.   “SJL Broadcasting holding its programming for ransom, telling consumers and fans to pay higher TV fees or you’ll miss the Final Four.  It’s a shameless scheme that has no place in American society.”

Broadcast retransmission fees are increasing at an astronomical rate, and will cost U.S. consumers and satellite and cable operators $10.6 billion by 2020, according to industry research firm SNL Kagan.  Indeed, Axios recently reported that, “Since 2010, broadcast and cable companies have raised retransmission rates more than 3700%, in an effort to make up for lost revenue from rising programming costs and declining ad revenues.”

Station-induced blackouts are already on a record pace in 2017, totaling 142 blackouts, including more in the first four months of the year than all of 2016 combined.  As this surging blackout crisis rolls on, big network executives are not only raking in cash at new record highs, but local stations have shown little courage to stop gouging the far fewer American families who choose to remain loyal.

  • CBS Chief Les Moonves said his company’s $1 billion haul in retransmission consent fees was “a full year ahead of schedule, and continues to grow rapidly,” despite ongoing reports the company’s revenue performance is actually down.  CBS advertising revenue—the largest contributor to CBS’s top line—fell 2.8% to $1.8 billion, according to the Wall Street JournalIn another recent report, CBS COO Joe Ianniello expects to be taking in about $2.5 billion in broadcast retransmission licensing and reverse compensation fees by 2020.
  • NBC Universal’s retransmission consent revenue was up 14 percent, with the company’s overall revenue for its broadcast unit hit $2.8 billion. NBC Universal Broadcast Television business earns the majority of its revenues from advertising and retransmission revenues.
  • 21st Century Fox reported higher earnings for its fiscal second quarter as revenues rose at its cable and broadcast TV operations.
  • ABC/Disney broadcasting operating income grew 28% from 2016 to 2017, largely due to higher affiliation revenue.

As advertisers shift more support elsewhere, innovation-adverse local stations that hold exclusive control over which families can get them in their local lineups, regardless of their choice of provider, have resorted to pulling their stations from local homes, typically just before a major event like the start of the NFL and CFB football seasons, the NFL playoffs or – in SJL Broadcasting’s case — the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament – that remain popular. Still, even those events aren’t immune to audience declines, as viewership for Fox’s recent Super Bowl LI was down for the second year in a row and ratings for regular season NFL games are also decreasing.

“All of this demonstrates what the American Television Alliance has maintained since its founding – existing rules do not protect the viewing public from broadcaster blackouts and that Congress and government regulators should act,” said Duffy.

TV Blackout Crisis: Blackouts Break Records As Broadcasters Rake In More Money from Viewers

TV blackouts hit a record in 2015, affecting 12 million Americans.  Since 2010, millions of Americans have seen dark screens instead of watching their favorite channels due to 792 broadcaster blackouts.  With 142 blackouts already this year, 2017 is on pace to be the worst year for blackouts ever.

  • 142 blackouts to date in 2017 – smashing previous Q1 records
  • 104 blackouts in 2016
  • 193 blackouts in 2015
  • 94 blackouts in 2014
  • 119 blackouts in 2013
  • 90 blackouts in 2012
  • 42 blackouts in 2011
  • 8 blackouts in 2010

When blackouts finally end, consumers get their programming back, but at a higher cost:

  • SNL Kagan also projects that over time that 50% of affiliates’ retrans payments will go to the networks rather than pay for local programming.
  • SNL Kagan data shows that retrans fees are the fastest rising part of programming costs
  • Retrans fees have grown an astonishing 22,400% [no, that’s not a typo] since 2005 and more troubling, have seen 40% annual increases over the last 3 years.

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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.

 

 

 

Broadcasters Blackout Local College Basketball Fans While Sending Billions of Dollars to Network Executives in Los Angeles and New York

 Raycom Media Pulls Another 27 Local TV Stations in 23 Cities
Seven Local CBS Stations Down

Washington, D.C. – Raycom Media has pulled its 27 local TV stations from AT&T U-Verse customers in 23 cities, including seven local CBS stations scheduled to broadcast the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Broadcasters are once again using their local news and station websites to try to convince American consumers and middle class families that their massive fee increases for otherwise free programming and the rapidly expanding TV blackout crisis are a necessary evil to support the local community.

Raycom’s blackout covers seven CBS markets that are scheduled to broadcast the first and second round games of the NCAA Tournament this weekend.  In another dispute, Hearst Television’s ongoing blackout of DISH Network has left fans without access to their local CBS channel in Louisville, KY and Des Moines, IA.

“This is the old shift and shaft, with with fans getting the shaft,” said Trent Duffy, ATVA spokesman.  “Broadcasters are proudly exploiting a system that incentivizes them to jack up fees as much as 200% or more to replace lost revenue from ads.  As CBS Chief Les Moonves said, blacking out viewers during retransmission negotiations provides the ‘ultimate leverage’ and ‘the sky’s the limit’ in retrans fees if we fail to change the current system.”

The fastest-rising component of all pay TV customers’ cable bills — broadcast station retransmission fees – are up nearly 40 percent year-over-year in each one of the past four years, surpassing $7.7 billion in 2016 and expected to soar past $10.6 billion by 2020. Many middle class families have seen their own incomes stagnate or even decline during that same span, making it that much harder to pay to retain “free” TV.  Rather than collect any benefit in their own hometown, blacked out viewers must instead watch the local station owners licensed to serve them kick back the majority of these soaring station fees to national broadcast network executives in New York and Los Angeles who threaten to revoke ABC, CBS, FOX or NBC affiliations if they don’t pay up.

Station-induced blackouts are already on a record pace in 2017, totaling more than 125 blackouts more in the first three months of the year than all of 2016.  As this surging blackout crisis rolls on, big network executives are not only raking in cash at new record highs, but local stations have shown little courage to stop gouging a much smaller number of American families who still continue to remain loyal.

  • CBS Chief Les Moonves said his company’s $1 billion haul in retransmission consent fees was “a full year ahead of schedule, and continues to grow rapidly,” despite ongoing reports the company’s revenue performance is actually down.  CBS advertising revenue—the largest contributor to CBS’s top line—fell 2.8% to $1.8 billion, according to the Wall Street JournalIn another recent report, CBS COO Joe Ianniello expects to be taking in about $2.5 billion in broadcast retransmission licensing and reverse compensation fees by 2020.
  • NBC Universal’s retransmission consent revenue was up 14 percent, with the company’s overall revenue for its broadcast unit hit $2.8 billion. NBC Universal Broadcast Television business earns the majority of its revenues from advertising and retransmission revenues.
  • 21st Century Fox reported higher earnings for its fiscal second quarter as revenues rose at its cable and broadcast TV operations.
  • ABC/Disney broadcasting operating income grew 28% from 2016 to 2017, largely due to higher affiliation revenue.

As advertisers shift more of their own support elsewhere, innovation-adverse local stations that still retain exclusive control over which families can receive them in their local lineups, regardless of their choice of provider, have resorted to pulling their stations from lineups, typically just before major events like the start of the fall football season, the NFL playoffs or – in Raycom’s case — the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament – that still remain popular with local viewers. Yet even those events aren’t the draw they once were, as viewership for Fox recent Super Bowl LI own for the second year in a row and ratings for regular season NFL games are also declining.

Many broadcast stations put their editorial independence and journalistic integrity at stake by using their newscasts and station websites to convince cash-strapped consumers that they will be uninformed, unsafe and, in some cases, jobless if they fail to support these station pleas for more funds for local programming. Oftentimes, what local stations claim is local often isn’t local at all. Rather than airing local news, broadcasters are increasingly relying on syndication services to broadcast the same exact thing in hundreds of local TV markets, producing often hilarious results.

“All of this demonstrates what the American Television Alliance has maintained since its founding – existing rules do not protect the viewing public from broadcaster blackouts and that Congress and government regulators should act,” added Duffy.

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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.

Hearst TV Snubs College Hoops Fans in Louisville from Big Dance

Screens Still Dark Ahead of NCAA Basketball Tournament
Broadcasters Continue on Record Blackout Pace for 2017
Retrans Fees Charged by Broadcasters up to $7.2 Billion

Washington, D.C. – Hearst Television Inc. is preventing fans in the Louisville market from watching the first round of the NCAA Basketball Tournament featuring both the Louisville Cardinals and the Kentucky Wildcats on CBS. The ongoing blackout initiated by Hearst TV is affecting 30 states and 26 markets, leaving millions of DISH Network customers without access to their local programming.  Louisville will play Jacksonville State at 2:45 PM EST and Kentucky will play Northern Kentucky at 9:40 PM EST on Friday, March 17.

“A selection committee of one is preventing fans in Louisville from enjoying the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Broadcasters are responsible for at least one blackout for every day President Donald Trump has been in office.  The Trump administration, the new FCC Chairman and Congress need to call a timeout and protect consumers from outrageous broadcaster blackouts,” said Trent Duffy, ATVA spokesman.

Hearst pulled its signal from DISH customers despite offers from DISH to retroactively ‘true-up’ for new rates, which would allow customers to continue to access their local broadcast channels while negotiations continue.

Broadcast retransmission fees will cost U.S. consumers and satellite and cable operators $10.6 billion by 2020, according to industry research firm SNL Kagan. That’s well ahead of the year before, when SNL projected retrans to hit $9.8 billion by 2020.

The record pace broadcasters are pulling their signals from consumers this year is alarming, totaling more than 125 blackouts – more in the first three months than all of 2016 – in 81 cities, and costing nearly 18 million families at least some temporary disruption.   This startling trend comes as SNL Kagan projects retrans fees collected by broadcasters to hit $7.2 billion in 2017.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) launched a probe into the broadcast industry which lasted for much of 2016. While the FCC’s investigation was ongoing, broadcasters were on their very best behavior — after five years of increasing numbers of blackouts, TV takedowns eased slightly last year while broadcasters were under the FCC microscope.

During the past decade, record numbers of viewers have abandoned the once-dominant broadcast networks, leaving them approximately half the audience they used to attract, according to Nielsen Media Research data and leading industry research firm SNL Kagan.  As advertisers shift more of their own support elsewhere, broadcast station retransmission fees, the fastest rising portion of consumers’ pay TV bills, are up nearly 40 percent year-over-year in each one of the past four years.

“With plummeting ratings and shrinking advertising dollars, broadcasters are desperately searching for new revenue,” said Trent Duffy.  “Broadcasters are proudly exploiting the outdated video distribution system that incentivizes them to jack up fees as much as 200% or more to replace lost revenue from ads.  As CBS Chief Les Moonves said, blacking out viewers during retransmission negotiations provides the ‘ultimate leverage’ and ‘the sky’s the limit’ in retrans fees if we fail to change the current system.”

TV Blackout Crisis: Blackouts Break Records As Broadcasters Rake In More Money from Viewers

TV blackouts hit a record in 2015, affecting 12 million Americans.  Since 2010, millions of Americans have seen dark screens instead of watching their favorite channels due to more than 750 broadcaster blackouts.  With 116 blackouts already this year, 2017 is on pace to be the worst year for blackouts ever.

  • More than 125 blackouts to date in 2017
  • 104 blackouts in 2016
  • 193 blackouts in 2015
  • 94 blackouts in 2014
  • 119 blackouts in 2013
  • 90 blackouts in 2012
  • 42 blackouts in 2011
  • 8 blackouts in 2010

When blackouts finally end, consumers get their programming back, but at a higher cost:

  • SNL Kagan also projects that over time that 50% of affiliates’ retrans payments will go to the networks rather than pay for local programming.
  • SNL Kagan data shows that retrans fees are the fastest rising part of programming costs
  • Retrans fees have grown an astonishing 22,400% [no, that’s not a typo] since 2005 and more troubling, have seen 40% annual increases over the last 3 years.

###

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.

Hearst Television Blacks Out Millions of Consumers in 30 States Across the Country

Hearst Television Blacks Out Millions of Consumers in 30 States Across the Country

Millions of DISH Customers in 30 States — 26 TV Markets — Without Access to Local Programming

Consumer Blackouts Surpass 100 for the Year; Heart Television Inc. Solely Responsible for more than half of all Blackouts in 2017

Washington, D.C. – Hearst’s decision to pull down its signal in 30 states and 26 markets leaves millions of DISH Network customers without access to their local programming.  This massive consumer blackout brings the total number of blackouts in 2017 to 102, the largest number ever recorded this early in a calendar year.  Hearst Television Inc. is responsible for more than half of all consumer blackouts this year, having previously pulled the plug on DIRECTV customers on New Year’s Day.  Hearst pulled its signal from DISH customers despite offers from DISH to retroactivly ‘true-up’ for new rates, which would allow customers to continue to access their local broadcast channels while negotiations continue.

“Earlier this year Hearst blacked out college football bowl games and network premiers.  Now they are targeting college basketball’s March Madness and season finales,” said Trent Duffy, ATVA spoksman.  “Repeat offenders like Hearst Television prove there’s nothing to stop broadcasters from hitting consumers on the nose with more blackouts and higher fees.  The American Television Alliance, the voice of the TV viewer, calls on Hearst Television Inc. to immediately end its shameful consumer blackout.”

“ATVA continues to work with the Trump administration, the new FCC Chairman and Congress to find a solution to protect consumers from outrageous broadcaster abuses and prevent blackouts being used as a weapon.”

TV Blackout Crisis: Blackouts Break Records As Broadcasters Rake In More Money from Viewers

TV blackouts hit a record in 2015, affecting 12 million Americans.  Since 2010, millions of Americans have seen dark screens instead of watching their favorite channels due to 725 broadcaster blackouts.  With 102 blackouts already this year, 2017 is on pace to be the worst year for blackouts ever.

  • 102 blackouts to date in 2017
  • 104 blackouts in 2016
  • 193 blackouts in 2015
  • 94 blackouts in 2014
  • 119 blackouts in 2013
  • 90 blackouts in 2012
  • 42 blackouts in 2011
  • 8 blackouts in 2010

When blackouts finally end, consumers get their programming back, but at a higher cost:

  • SNL Kagan also projects that over time that 50%of affiliates’ retrans payments will go to the networks rather than pay for local programming.
  • SNL Kagan data shows that retrans fees are the fastest rising part of programming costs
  • Retrans fees have grown an astonishing 22,400% [no, that’s not a typo] since 2005 and more troubling, have seen 40% annual increases over the last 3 years.

###

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.