“Don’t Be Fooled” By Broadcasters

ATVA and ACA Launch TV Ad Campaign in Response to NAB’s False Claims

Washington, D.C. August 6, 2014– In response to broadcasters’ ad campaign falsely claiming that pay-TV wants to end “free TV,” the American Television Alliance and the American Cable Association today released an ad warning consumers not to be “fooled” and pointing out that broadcasters are receiving billions of dollars from pay-TV customers. The ad has already begun running on local cable systems around the country.

“Broadcast TV stations are trying desperately to keep their ability to charge even higher prices for local broadcast TV signals and limit consumer choice,” the ad states.

The ad counters the “Keep My TV” campaign launched by the National Association of Broadcasters in order to preserve the current “retransmission consent” regime. These rules were created decades ago and allow broadcasters to take billions for TV they claim is “free.”

“Broadcasters are clearly willing to do just about anything to save retransmission consent,” ACA CEO and President Matt Polka said. “ACA is working with ATVA to make sure that consumers have access to accurate information regarding our nation’s outdated TV rules.”

The NAB ad claims, “Nearly 60 million Americans depend on free local TV,” but the reality is, only about 5 percent of homes are broadcast-TV only. For the 95 percent of Americans that watch TV with cable or satellite, their local TV is far from free, with broadcasters projected to make $25 billion in fees over the next five years.

For these consumers, local TV is also far from local. Today, there’s roughly a 7 percent chance a local television station is locally owned. Furthermore, a 2011 FCC study found that 32 percent of local TV stations “did not air a single minute of news programming” and only one in two stations even shows local news.

“This latest campaign by broadcasters is a last-ditch attempt to scare consumers into thinking that the current retrans system benefits them,” ATVA spokesman Brian Frederick said. “Nothing’s going to happen to over-the-air broadcast TV. This is about whether pay-TV customers should be forced to pay billions for “free” TV.”