National Group Says Congress Should Fix Old Laws that Let Broadcasters Hold Viewers Hostage
Blackouts Continue to Hurt Viewers Across the Country
Washington, D.C. – The American Television Alliance (ATVA) issued the following statement from ATVA spokesman Trent Duffy regarding Granite Broadcasting Corporation’s decision to blackout KBJR-NBC and MY 9 in the Duluth, MN market, WISE-NBC and MyTV in the Fort Wayne, IN market, and WEEK-NBC in the Peoria, IL market. According to the group, the blackout is the seventh in the U.S. this year.
“This blackout is just the latest in a growing national scourge as broadcasters use old laws to gouge consumers for what is supposed to be “free” over the air programming. It’s time for Congress to end these broadcaster special interest giveaways so TV fans get their shows instead of a black screen.
The bareknuckle tactics are all too familiar: a broadcaster waits until a popular TV event is on the horizon and then gives fans the ultimatum, pay up big-time or get blacked out. It’s not fair and it’s not pretty, but sadly, it is legal because Congress hasn’t fixed the laws.
The American Television Alliance demands that Granite Broadcasting immediately cease its outrageous consumer blackout and return to the negotiating table, and asks affected viewers to urge their Members of Congress to end the broadcaster giveaways and loopholes that leave TV fans at risk.”
Statistics on TV Blackouts Caused by Retransmission Fee Disputes in the U.S. Since 2010
Today’s blackout is the 45th U.S. TV blackout caused by retransmission fee disputes in the year 2015, affecting hundreds of thousands of viewers. The number has grown rapidly in the past five years and has affected millions of Americans during that timeframe. There have been 433 blackouts since 2010.
- 107 blackouts in 2014
- 127 blackouts in 2013
- 91 blackouts in 2012
- 51 blackouts in 2011
- 12 blackouts in 2010
When the blackouts end, consumers get their programming back, but at a higher cost.
- Retransmission fees are projected to go from $3.3 billion in 2013 to $7.6 billion in 2019.
- SNL Kagan projects that over time 50% of affiliates’ retransmission payments will go to the networks rather than pay for local programming
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 viewers face as broadcasters increasingly threaten service disruptions that would deny viewers access to the programs they and their families enjoy.