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.