Retrans Fee Hikes Continue to Defy Gravity – Soar to Record Levels

New Report Says Broadcasters Will Collect $84 Billion in Retrans Fees By 2024

Washington, D.C. – A new report from SNL Kagan projects broadcaster retrans fees to reach $11.72 billion in 2019, up 11% from $10.57 billion in 2018.  The report cited broadcasters’ “increased bargaining power” and said that retrans fees will reach $16.2 billion in 2024.  Between 2019 and 2024, broadcasters are expected to collect a total $84 billion in retrans fees.

In July alone, broadcasters blacked out millions of cable and satellite consumers, bringing the 2019 blackout total to 230, breaking the previous record of 213 set in 2017.  In the past 10 years, primetime viewership of the big four broadcast networks has declined by 52 percent. 

“Consumers shouldn’t be charged more for a product they’re using less, especially when that product is available for free,” said Trent Duffy, ATVA national spokesman.  “The retrans racket is out of control and we’re pleased to see that Congress is starting to take note. Representatives Scalise and Eshoo recently introduced the Modern Television Act of 2019 to fix and modernize our antiquated video laws and finally put an end to the blackout crisis.”

TV Blackout Crisis: 2019 Breaks Blackout Record as Broadcasters Rake in Billions from Viewers

Since 2010, millions of Americans have seen dark screens instead of watching their favorite channels due to more than 1,000 broadcaster-initiated blackouts. With 230 blackouts, 2019 is the worst year for TV blackouts on record.

  • 230 blackouts in 2019 – Retrans Fees: $11.7B (estimated)
  • 165 blackouts in 2018 – Retrans Fees: $10.5B
  • 213 blackouts in 2017 – Retrans Fees: $9.3B
  • 104 blackouts in 2016 – Retrans Fees: $7.9 B
  • 193 blackouts in 2015 – Retrans Fees: $6.4B
  • 94 blackouts in 2014 – Retrans Fees: $4.8B
  • 119 blackouts in 2013 – Retrans Fees: $3.6B
  • 90 blackouts in 2012 – Retrans Fees: $2.4B
  • 42 blackouts in 2011 – Retrans Fees: $1.7B
  • 8 blackouts in 2010 – Retrans Fees: $1.2B

** Retrans fees in $billions based on data from SNL Kagan

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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 Applauds Introduction of Legislation to Fix and Modernize Nation’s TV laws

Congressman Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA) Introduce Legislation to Update TV laws

WASHINGTON, DC– As the number of broadcaster blackouts reaches an all-time high for a single calendar year, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) have introduced legislation that would fix our nation’s outdated video laws.

“We applaud the leadership of Representatives Scalise and Eshoo for putting forward a bipartisan plan that brings our video laws into the 21stCentury,” said Trent Duffy, ATVA spokesman.  “Today’s marketplace is vastly different than when our current framework was established in 1992 – and it is completely dysfunctional.”

In the past three weeks, broadcasters have blacked out millions of cable and satellite consumers, bringing the 2019 blackout total to 230, breaking the previous record of 213 set in 2017.    Since 2006, retrans fees have gone from about $200 million, to $10.1 billion in 2018, an increase of 4,950 percent.   In the past 10 years, primetime viewership of the big four broadcast networks has declined by 52 percent.     

“This outdated system favors broadcasters and allows them to charge Americans billions more for a product that is sinking in popularity.  Only a government-skewed market would produce such upside-down economics.  The TV blackout crisis is out of control and it’s about time that Congress did something to put an end to it,” added Duffy.  “2019 is already the worst year ever for broadcaster blackouts and we only expect it to get worse until Congress acts.”

The 1992 Cable Act first established the regulatory regime known as retransmission consent. Retransmission consent fees are the payments that TV distributors (cable, satellite, and other TV providers) are required to pay in order to carry broadcast TV channels.  If demands for higher fees are not met, broadcasters pull their signals.   A cable or satellite operator is not allowed to provide subscribers a broadcaster’s signal without permission, which allows broadcasters to use the threat of blackouts and actual blackouts to extort higher fees – fees that are ultimately paid by subscribers.

TV Blackout Crisis: 2019 Breaks Blackout Record as Broadcasters Rake in Billions from Viewers

Since 2010, millions of Americans have seen dark screens instead of watching their favorite channels due to more than 1,000 broadcaster-initiated blackouts. With 230 blackouts, 2019 is the worst year for TV blackouts on record.

  • 230 blackouts in 2019 – Retrans Fees: $11.7B (estimated)
  • 165 blackouts in 2018 – Retrans Fees: $10.1B
  • 213 blackouts in 2017 – Retrans Fees: $9.3B
  • 104 blackouts in 2016 – Retrans Fees: $7.9 B
  • 193 blackouts in 2015 – Retrans Fees: $6.4B
  • 94 blackouts in 2014 – Retrans Fees: $4.8B
  • 119 blackouts in 2013 – Retrans Fees: $3.6B
  • 90 blackouts in 2012 – Retrans Fees: $2.4B
  • 42 blackouts in 2011 – Retrans Fees: $1.7B
  • 8 blackouts in 2010 – Retrans Fees: $1.2B

** Retrans fees in $billions based on data from SNL Kagan

Broadcasters Are to Blame for Skyrocketing Retrans Fees and Record Number of TV Blackouts, Says ATVA

Washington, D.C. –The American Television Alliance (ATVA) released the following statement blaming broadcasters for the record number of television blackouts in 2019 and skyrocketing retransmission consent fees:

“Broadcasters are in need of a history lesson on who is really to blame for TV blackouts and the underlying issue of skyrocketing retransmission consent fees, which have been the fastest rising part of pay-TV bills for over a decade. The 1992 Cable Act enabled local broadcasters, then the primary source of programming, to withhold their signals from the local cable company – though sponsors of that antiquated law promised blackouts would not occur. Fast forward to today, when consumers enjoy an almost infinite number of programming sources from a myriad of pay-TV providers, and the broadcasters have the gall to allege that an all-too-real (and ongoing) glut of blackouts is manufactured. Rather than using a calculated political pivot to deflect blame and preserve their “special” status enshrined in current law, broadcasters should stop demanding unacceptable price increases for channels with continually declining viewership. Consumers should no longer have to pay more for what they are watching less.”

Skyrocketing Retrans Fees Lead to More TV Blackouts As Viewership Declines

  • In the past three weeks, broadcasters have blacked out millions of cable and satellite consumers, bringing the 2019 blackout total to 230, breaking the previous record of 213 set in 2017.      
  • Since 2006, retrans fees have gone from about $200 million, to $10.1 billion in 2018, an increase of 4,950 percent.   
  • In the past 10 years, primetime viewership of the big four broadcast networks has declined by 52 percent, according to Nielsen.     

Since 2010, millions of Americans have seen dark screens instead of watching their favorite channels due to more than 1,000 broadcaster-initiated blackouts:  

  • 230 blackouts in 2019
  • 165 blackouts in 2018 
  • 213 blackouts 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

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.

TV Blackouts and Retrans Fees Reach Record Levels Despite Declining TV Viewership

Washington, D.C. – TV blackouts and retransmission consent fees have reached record levels in 2019 despite declining TV viewership.   ATVA recently launched an ad campaign urging Congress to act.  You can see all the ads being used at https://www.americantelevisionalliance.org/media-center/

  • In the past three weeks, broadcasters have blacked out millions of pay-TV customers, bringing the 2019 blackout total to 230, breaking the previous record of 213 set in 2017.   
  • Since 2006, retrans fees have gone from about $200 million, to $10.1 billion in 2018, an increase of 4,950 percent. 
  • In the past 10 years, primetime viewership of the big four broadcast networks has declined by 52 percent, according to Nielsen.      

 “TV blackouts and broadcaster fee hikes hit a record this year even as the number of television viewers continues to decline,” said Trent Duffy, ATVA spokesman.  “Consumers have lost billions of dollars and have been used as pawns.  It is time to bring our nation’s ancient video laws in line with the reality of today.”

TV Blackout Crisis: Over 1,000 Blackouts since 2010 as Broadcasters Rake in Billions from Viewers

Since 2010, millions of Americans have seen dark screens instead of watching their favorite channels due to more than 1,000 broadcaster-initiated blackouts.  Blackouts have affected consumers in nearly every congressional district and media market across the U.S.

  • 230 blackouts in 2019
  • 165 blackouts in 2018
  • 213 blackouts 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

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 Launches New Ad Campaign to Reform Retransmission Consent Fees as TV Blackouts Approach All-Time High

Pending CBS Blackout Would Break the Annual Record set in 2017

Washington, D.C. – The American Television Alliance launched a new advertising campaign as a possible third major TV blackout loomed, which would put the annual TV blackout total into record territory in 2019 and plague millions of Americans across several states.  The ad campaign is part of a significant push by the ATVA urging Congress to act on reforming outdated video marketplace laws.  You can see all the ads being used at https://www.americantelevisionalliance.org/media-center/

A pending CBS blackout impacting millions of consumer in 18 markets, would be the third outage in the country in the past two weeks, breaking the annual record set in 2017.  Yesterday, Meredith Corporation caused a major TV blackout by pulling its signal from millions of DISH Network customers in 12 television markets in 18 states.   Meredith’s blackout of DISH customers brought 2019’s blackout total to 213 only seven months into the year, tying the 1-year record set in 2017.  In addition to Meredith’s blackout of DISH Network customers, Nexstar is currently blacking out millions of DIRECTV, U-verse and DIRECTV Now customers in approximately 100 U.S. cities, denying access to 125 local stations.  Since 2006, retrans fees fees have gone from about $200 million to $10.1 billion in 2018, an increase of 4,950 percent.   

On Wednesday, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Steve Scalise (R-LA), asked Nexstar to end its massive blackout of Direct TV, U-Verse and DIRECTV Now customers that began two weeks ago.  The two lawmakers are working on a bipartisan reform proposal that they plan to unveil this year.

“TV blackouts and broadcaster fee hikes will hit a record this year with no end in sight, so we are making sure Congress gets the message loud and clear,” said Trent Duffy, ATVA spokesman.  “Consumers have lost billions of dollars and have been used as pawns.  It is time to bring our nation’s ancient video laws in line with the reality of today, and this ad campaign will help support that effort.”

Congress is currently considering the reauthorization of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELAR).  As many as 870,000 satellite subscribers, many in the most rural areas of the country, will lose access to broadcast channels if Congress fails to reauthorize STELAR. 

ATVA strongly supports the reauthorization of STELAR and bipartisan momentum continues to build to extend the legislation.  Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Roger Wicker (R-MS) recently said STELAR is “must-pass” legislation, while  Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) has called retransmission consent a “racket.” 

“Congress should not only re-authorize STELAR so rural America can continue receiving all their broadcast channels, but also modernize the retransmission consent rules, which currently favor broadcasters at the expense of consumers and competition,” added Duffy.

The 1992 Cable Act first established the regulatory regime known as retransmission consent.  Retransmission consent fees are the payments that TV distributors (cable, satellite, and other TV providers) are required to pay in order to carry broadcast TV channels.  If demands for higher fees are not met, broadcasters pull their signals.   A cable or satellite operator is not allowed to provide subscribers a broadcaster’s signal without permission, which allows broadcasters to use the threat of blackouts and actual blackouts to extort higher fees – fees that are ultimately paid by subscribers.

TV Blackout Crisis: Over 1,000 Blackouts since 2010 as Broadcasters Rake in Billions from Viewers

Since 2010, millions of Americans have seen dark screens instead of watching their favorite channels due to more than 1,000 broadcaster-initiated blackouts.  Blackouts have affected consumers in nearly every congressional district and media market across the U.S.

  • 213 blackouts in 2019
  • 165 blackouts in 2018
  • 213 blackouts 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

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.

TV Blackouts Skyrocket in 2019, Making it Worst Year Ever

Latest Outage Ties Annual Record with 5 Months to Go

Screens Go Dark for DISH Network Customers in 12 Markets, 18 States

Washington, D.C. – Meredith Corporation caused a massive TV blackout on July 16, 2019, pulling its signal from millions of DISH Network customers in 12 television markets in 18 states.   Meredith’s blackout of DISH customers brings 2019’s blackout total to 213 only seven months into the year, tying the 1-year record set in 2017.  In addition to Meredith’s blackout of DISH Network customers, Nexstar is currently blacking out millions of DIRECTV, U-verse and DIRECTV Now customers, in approximately 100 cities across the U.S., denying access to 125 local stations.  Consumers were blacked out 165 times in 2018 while broadcasters collected $10.1 billion in retrans fees, up from $9.3 billion in 2017.

“Congress is right to be looking at our outdated video laws, because the blackout crisis is reaching an epic proportion and we don’t expect it to stop until Congress does something about it,” said Trent Duffy, ATVA spokesman.  “Consumers have lost billions of dollars and have been used as pawns.  It is time to bring our nation’s ancient video laws in line with the reality of today.”

Congress is currently considering the reauthorization of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELAR).  As many as 870,000 satellite subscribers, many in the most rural areas of the country, will lose access to broadcast channels if Congress fails to reauthorize STELAR. 

ATVA strongly supports the reauthorization of STELAR and bipartisan momentum continues to build to extend the legislation.  Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Roger Wicker (R-MS) recently said STELAR is “must-pass” legislation, while  Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) has called retransmission consent a “racket.” 

“Congress should not only re-authorize STELAR so rural America can continue receiving all their broadcast channels, but also modernize the retransmission consent rules, which currently favor broadcasters at the expense of consumers and competition,” added Duffy.

The 1992 Cable Act first established the regulatory regime known as retransmission consent.  Retransmission consent fees are the payments that TV distributors (cable, satellite, and other TV providers) are required to pay in order to carry broadcast TV channels.  If demands for higher fees are not met, broadcasters pull their signals.   A cable or satellite operator is not allowed to provide subscribers a broadcaster’s signal without permission, which allows broadcasters to use the threat of blackouts and actual blackouts to extort higher fees – fees that are ultimately paid by subscribers.

TV Blackout Crisis: Over 1,000 Blackouts since 2010 as Broadcasters Rake in Billions from Viewers

Since 2010, millions of Americans have seen dark screens instead of watching their favorite channels due to more than 1,000 broadcaster-initiated blackouts.  Blackouts have affected consumers in nearly every congressional district and media market across the U.S.

  • 213 blackouts in 2019
  • 165 blackouts in 2018
  • 213 blackouts 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

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.

Sinclair Managed and Controlled Stations Refuse to Negotiate with AT&T

AT&T Files “Bad Faith” Complaint With FCC

20 Stations in 17 Cities Blacked Out

Washington, D.C. –AT&T has filed a “bad faith” complaint with the Federal Communications Commission against nine individual station owners that have collectively pulled 20 stations in 17 cities from DIRECTV, DIRECTV NOW and/or U-verse homes on May 30 and June 10.

The stations which are managed and controlled by Sinclair Broadcasting Group, are refusing to negotiate with AT&T.  The blackout has impacted the NHL Stanley Cup, NBA Finals and U.S. Open, among other events. The broadcasters include Deerfield Media, GoCom Media of Illinois, Howard Stirk Holdings, Mercury Broadcast Group, MPS Media, Nashville License Holdings, Roberts Media, Second Generation of Iowa and Waitt Broadcasting.  AT&T filed a “bad faith” complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on June 18.

Congressman Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA) recently reached an agreement on a legislative framework to end television blackouts.  Congress is currently considering the reauthorization of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELAR).  As many as 870,000 satellite subscribers, many in the most rural areas of the country, will lose access to broadcast channels if Congress fails to reauthorize STELAR.  Allowing STELAR to expire will also end the FCC’s authority to enforce its “good faith” rules in regard to retransmission consent.

“This is another symptom of a broken system that’s fueling the blackout crisis and causing retrans fees to skyrocket.    Congress should not only re-authorize STELAR to maintain the FCC’s authority to enforce “good faith” rules, but also modernize the retransmission consent rules, which currently favor broadcasters at the expense of consumers and competition,” Said  ATVA spokesman Trent Duffy.

The 1992 Cable Act established the doctrines of government mandated broadcast carriage or must carry, and forced negotiations known as retransmission consent.  Retransmission consent fees are the payments that TV distributors (cable, satellite, and other TV providers) are required to pay in order to carry broadcast TV channels.  If demands for higher fees are not met, broadcasters pull their signals.   A cable or satellite operator is not allowed to provide subscribers a broadcaster’s signal without permission, which allows broadcasters to use the threat of, or actual, blackouts to extort higher fees that are ultimately paid by subscribers.

Major rules governing the U.S. media marketplace were first written in 1934 and last updated for the media in the 1992 Cable Act. These rules were written at a time when the Internet was still in its infancy and multiple streaming options didn’t exist.

TV Blackout Crisis: 2017 Breaks Blackout Record as Broadcasters Rake in Billions from Viewers

Since 2010, millions of Americans have seen dark screens instead of watching their favorite channels due to more than 1,000 broadcaster-initiated blackouts.  With 213 blackouts, 2017 was the worst year for TV blackouts on record.

  • 65 blackouts in 2019
  • 165 blackouts in 2018
  • 213 blackouts 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

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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.

Frontier Communications Joins ATVA

Washington, D.C. – The American Television Alliance (ATVA) today added to its growing coalition of the country’s leading cable and satellite providers, independent programmers, and consumer groups with the addition of Frontier Communications as a member.  Frontier joins ATVA following the addition of independent programmers RIDE TV, MAVTV, REVOLT, and Cinémoi.

Congressman Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA) recently reached an agreement on legislation to end television blackouts. Congress is currently considering the reauthorization of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELAR).  As many as 870,000 satellite subscribers, many in the most rural areas of the country, will lose access to broadcast channels if Congress fails to reauthorize STELAR.  Allowing STELAR to expire will also end the FCC’s authority to enforce its “good faith” rules in regard to retransmission consent.

“This is the latest sign that bipartisan momentum is growing to fix our broken retransmission consent system,” said Trent Duffy, ATVA spokesman.

“We look forward to working with the coalition to encourage Congress and the FCC to take action to protect consumers from skyrocketing retrans fees and TV blackouts,” Ken Mason, Senior Vice President, Federal Government Affairs for Frontier Communications.

In the last decade, Broadcasters have weaponized TV blackouts to cause maximum harm for consumers and maximize their own profit. In 2010 there were only 8 blackouts nationwide. In 2017, Broadcasters set an all-time record with 213 blackouts in a single calendar year, and in 2018 blackouts reached 165.

Major rules governing the U.S. media marketplace were first written in 1934 and last updated for the media in the 1992 Cable Act. These rules were written at a time when the Internet was still in its infancy and multiple streaming options didn’t exist.

TV Blackout Crisis: Over 1,000 Blackouts since 2010 as Broadcasters Rake in Billions from Viewers

Since 2010, millions of Americans have seen dark screens instead of watching their favorite channels due to an estimated 1,069 broadcaster-initiated blackouts.  Blackouts have affected consumers in nearly every congressional district and media market across the U.S.

  • 62 blackouts in 2019
  • 165 blackouts in 2018
  • 213 blackouts 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

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American Television Alliance

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.

About Frontier Communications
Frontier Communications Corporation (NASDAQ:FTR) is a leader in providing communications services to urban, suburban, and rural communities in 29 states. Frontier offers a variety of services to residential customers over its fiber-optic and copper networks, including video, high-speed internet, advanced voice, and Frontier Secure® digital protection solutions. Frontier Business™ offers communications solutions to small, medium, and enterprise businesses. More information about Frontier is available at www.frontier.com.

ATVA Calls for Fix to Broken Retrans Laws Amid Gray Television’s Good Faith Violation

WASHINGTON, DC – The American Television Alliance today called on Congress to address broken retransmission consent laws amid Gray Television’s violation of “good faith” negotiation rules with C Spire Fiber. 

“Gray Television is negotiating in bad faith and this is yet another reason why Congress needs to do something about the laws that allow it to happen,” said Trent Duffy, ATVA spokesman.  “Bipartisan momentum for reform is at an all-time high, our coalition is growing, and our voices will continue to get louder so long as broadcasters are able to blackout consumers with immunity.”

The Good Faith Complaint and Petition for Declaratory Ruling was filed June 3 by C Spire against Gray Television.

TV Blackout Crisis: 2017 Breaks Blackout Record as Broadcasters Rake in Billions from Viewers

Since 2010, millions of Americans have seen dark screens instead of watching their favorite channels due to more than 1,000 broadcaster-initiated blackouts.  With 213 blackouts, 2017 was the worst year for TV blackouts on record.

  • 62 blackouts in 2019
  • 165 blackouts in 2018
  • 213 blackouts 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

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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.

ICYMI: NAB Chief Says Retrans Fees Are 12 Cents of Consumers’ Cable Bill — If that’s an offer – we will take it!

Washington, D.C. – The President and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters, Gordon Smith, told a house panel today that retransmission consent fees represent only 12 cents of a consumer’s pay-TV bill. Patricia Boyers, President of BOYCOM Vision, a small independent cable operator, disputed the claim, saying that her subscribers pay $12.16 each on their bill for retransmission of 4 broadcast stations. Robert Thun, Senior Vice President at AT&T, said, he wishes the fee was that low, but that number is dwarfed by what he pays for retrans.

“12 cents? If that’s an offer, we’ll take it,” said Trent Duffy, ATVA Spokesman. “We would love to see the proof. Broadcasters have a history of spreading half-truths to protect a system that has allowed them to jack up billions of dollars in fees on consumers,” said Trent Duffy, ATVA spokesman.

Retransmission consent fees represent the fastest rising portion of consumers pay-TV bills. Broadcasters pocketed $10.1 billion in 2018 from pay TV customers for ‘free’ TV, according to industry analyst SNL Kagan.  Retrans fees have risen 4,950 percent since 2006, from about $200 million to $10.1 billion in 2018.   

“The broken retrans regime is quite the racket, and it’s gotten a lot worse in the last decade. Broadcasters have weaponized TV blackouts, deliberately targeting live sports and other must-see TV in order to jack up retrans prices. 

Congress should take the opportunity to reauthorize STELAR and examine this broken and outdated system that favors broadcasters at the expense of consumers.”  

On recent earnings calls, broadcasters have bragged about their retrans cash haul: 

Nexstar Media Group: “Revenue at Nexstar was up 1.8% to $626.6 million in the quarter, a record for the broadcaster. Driving those increases was a 14% rise in retransmission consent revenue to $314 million,” [Multichannel News 5/8/19]. 

Gray Television Inc.: “Retransmission consent revenue increased $42 million, or 26%, to $204 million,” [Yahoo Finance 5/8/19]. 

Sinclair Broadcast Group: “Distribution revenue, which includes retransmission consent fees and affiliate fees from its cable networks, was up 12% to $352 million in the quarter, compared to $314 million in the first quarter of 2018,” [Multichannel News 5/8/19]. 

Fox: “…chalked up the revenue gain to affiliate and advertising revenue growth of 11% and 9%, respectively. Driving those gains was a 29% jump in retransmission consent revenue and a 10% increase in TV advertising revenue. A 35% increase in “other” revenue derived from digital content licensing, the company said,” [Deadline 5/8/19].

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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.