Broadcasters Blackout Playoffs and Golden Globes

Small Cable Provider TDS Calls Out Broadcaster Nexstar for Egregious Negotiation Tactics in Letter to FCC

 Washington, D.C.  TV viewers looking for playoff football and the Golden Globes this weekend found blank screens as broadcasters continued their New Year’s blackouts. Small cable operator TDS sent a letterover the weekend to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai regarding the egregious negotiation tactics used by one of the country’s largest broadcasters, Nexstar Media Group.

Blackouts across the country continued over the weekend:

  • TV station owner Nexstar blacked out American Cable Association (ACA) member TDS on December 31, 2018 inIndiana, Tennessee, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Oregon, and Utah. Nexstar is demanding a rate increase up to 129%.  Nexstar also blacked out small cable provider Acentek in Grand Rapids, MI and Lacrosse,   Nexstar’s blackouts impacted both the Golden Globes and pro football playoff games.
  • Tribune Broadcastingblacked out six million Charter Communications’ Spectrum customers on January 2, 2019 in 24 markets across the country.  Tribune also pulled its WGN America cable signal, which impacts 14 million consumers.  The blackout impacted pro football playoff games over the weekend.
  • TV viewers in the U.S. Virgin Islands lost their ABC and CBS signals on Viya – the territory’s only cable TV service – on January 5, 2019. According to recent reports, Lilly Broadcasting more than doubled its fees for the channels in its package.

“The New Year is always a favorite blackout target for broadcasters but this is by far the worst it’s ever been,” said Trent Duffy, American Television Alliance (ATVA) spokesman.  “The bad news is that 2019 won’t be any better unless Congress and the FCC act to protect consumers and modernize the outdated video laws that were designed for a marketplace that hasn’t existed for a decade.”

Consumers were threatened with up to 70 year-end blackouts.  Broadcasters followed through with their blackouts in 24 states and the District of Columbia, impacting a total of 54 markets. Live televised football games are the most frequently targeted and blacked out programming category, according to an analysis by ATVA.

Broadcasters shattered the record for the most TV blackouts in a single calendar year in 2017, intentionally taking down signals from cable and satellite customers a staggering 213 times.  Consumers were blacked out 164 times in 2018 while broadcasters collected $10.1 billion in retrans fees, up from $9.3 billion in 2017.

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. In the 10-year period between 2008 and 2018, retrans fees collected by broadcasters went from about a half a billion dollars to $10.1 billion, an increase of 1,920 percent.  With 213 blackouts, 2017 was the worst year for TV blackouts on record.

  • 26 blackouts in 2019
  • 164 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.

Broadcasters Blackout Millions of TV Viewers Across 24 States and 54 Markets

Broadcasters Blackout Millions of TV Viewers Across 24 States and 54 Markets
College Football Bowl Games, Pro Football Playoffs Threatened
All-Time Blackouts Top 1,000 With No End in Sight
Broadcasters Pocket $10.1 Billion for ‘Free’ TV in 2018

Washington, D.C.  Broadcasters across the country blacked out millions of consumers on the eve of College football bowl games, pro football playoff games, and holiday programming, bringing the total blackout count for 2018 to 164. According to an American Television Alliance analysis (ATVA) of publicly available reports, consumers were threatened with up to 70 year-end blackouts.  Broadcasters followed through with their blackout in 24 states and the District of Columbia, impacting a total of 54 markets.  Live televised football games are the most frequently targeted and blacked out programming category, according to an analysis by ATVA.

Blackouts across the country included:

Broadcasters shattered the record for the most TV blackouts in a single calendar year in 2017, intentionally taking down signals from cable and satellite customers a staggering 213 times last year.  Consumers have been blacked out 164 times in 2018 while broadcasters collected $10.1 billion in retrans fees, up from $9.3 billion in 2017.

“The New Year is always a favorite blackout target for broadcasters but this is by far the worst it’s ever been,” said Trent Duffy, ATVA spokesman.  “The bad news is that 2019 won’t be any better unless Congress and the FCC act to protect consumers and modernize the outdated video laws that were designed for a marketplace that hasn’t existed for a decade,” 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.

The rules governing our video marketplace were first written in 1934 and last updated 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. In the 10-year period between 2008 and 2018, retrans fees collected by broadcasters went from about a half a billion dollars to $10.1 billion, an increase of 1,920 percent.  With 213 blackouts, 2017 was the worst year for TV blackouts on record.

  • 24 blackouts in 2019
  • 164 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.

New Year Hangover: Broadcasters Blackout Millions of TV Viewers

College Bowl Games, Rose Parade Impacted

Broadcasters Pocket $10.1 Billion for ‘Free’ TV in 2018

 Washington, D.C.  According to an American Television Alliance Analysis (ATVA) of publicly available reports, consumers faced up to 70 year-end blackouts on the eve of College football bowl games, pro football playoff games, and holiday programming.  Broadcasters pulled the plug on millions of consumers across the country:

  • TEGNA blacked out over 1 million Verizon Fios customers in Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD, Norfolk, VA and Buffalo, NY.  TEGNA is proposing a substantial rate increase that could force a blackout of highly anticipated college football bowl games, including the New Year’s Day matchup between Kentucky and Penn State.  The blackout could also impact upcoming pro football playoff games.

Broadcasters shattered the record for the most TV blackouts in a single calendar year in 2017, intentionally taking down signals from cable and satellite customers a staggering 213 times last year.  Consumers have been blacked out 140 times in 2018, collecting $10.1 billion in retrans fees, up from $9.3 billion in 2017.

“Talk about a hangover, broadcasters gave America a big blackout on New Year’s Day,” said ATVA spokesman Trent Duffy.  “Millions of American TV viewers woke up this morning looking for football and local news and found a dark screen.  This situation will continue to deteriorate until Congress and the FCC take action to fix this problem for consumers.”

Retransmission consent fees (“retrans fees”) are the payments that TV distributors (cable, satellite, and other TV providers) make to broadcasters to carry their TV channels. The rules governing our video marketplace were first written in 1934 and last updated in the 1992 Cable Act. These rules were written at a time when most consumers had only one choice for pay TV service and the internet was still in its infancy.

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.

  • 140 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.

Update: Tis The Season for TV Blackouts: Consumers Brace for Year-End Blackouts of Live Sports and Holiday Programming

All-Time Blackouts Top 1,000 With No End in Sight
Broadcasters Pocket $10.1 Billion for ‘Free’ TV in 2018

Washington, D.C.  Broadcasters across the country are threatening to blackout millions of consumers on the eve of College football bowl games, pro football playoff games, and holiday programming.  Live televised football games are the most frequently targeted and blacked out programming category, according to an analysis by the American Television Alliance (ATVA).

Broadcasters are threatening to blackout millions of consumers before December 31, 2018:

  • TEGNA is threatening to blackout over 1 million Verizon Fios customers in Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD, Norfolk, VA and Buffalo, NY, according to recent public reports. TEGNA is proposing a substantial rate increase that could force a blackout of highly anticipated college football bowl games, including the New Year’s Day matchup between Kentucky and Penn State.  The potential blackout could also impact upcoming pro football playoff games.
  • TV station owner Nexstar is threatening to blackout American Cable Alliance (ACA) member TDS, a small cable provider in several small and rural markets. The Nexstar signals go dark just ahead of college bowl matchups, including Kentucky vs. Penn State.  Nexstar has many similar ongoing disputes with other small cable operators. Other broadcasters are also threatening smaller operators with retransmission consent blackouts..
  • Tribune Broadcasting is threatening six million Charter Communications’ Spectrum customers with a blackout that could prevent TV viewers from seeing live sporting events including pro football playoff games.Tribune is also threatening to pull its WGN America cable signal, which would impact 14 million consumers.

Broadcasters shattered the record for the most TV blackouts in a single calendar year in 2017, intentionally taking down signals from cable and satellite customers a staggering 213 times last year.  Consumers have been blacked out 137 times in 2018, collecting $10.1 billion in retrans fees, up from $9.3 billion in 2017.

“Tis the season for broadcaster blackouts.  Broadcasters are notorious for deliberately targeting live sports and other must-see TV at the end of the year.  Following a record year for blackouts in 2017, the blackout crisis continued to affect millions of TV viewers across the country.  This is one issue that is attracting bipartisan support and should be on the agenda for Congress next year.  The situation will continue to deteriorate for TV viewers until Congress and the FCC take action to protect consumers,” said ATVA spokesman Trent Duffy.

Retransmission consent fees (“retrans fees”) are the payments that TV distributors (cable, satellite, and other TV providers) make to broadcasters to carry their TV channels. The rules governing our video marketplace were first written in 1934 and last updated in the 1992 Cable Act. These rules were written at a time when most consumers had only one choice for pay TV service and the internet was still in its infancy.

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.

  • 137 blackouts in 2018 (And counting)
  • 213 blackouts in 2017 (A New Record)
  • 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.

Tis The Season for TV Blackouts: Consumers Brace for Year-End Blackouts of Live Sports and Holiday Programming

All-Time Blackouts Top 1,000 With No End in Sight
Broadcasters Pocket $10.1 Billion for ‘Free’ TV in 2018

Washington, D.C.  Disney is threatening to blackout its ABC affiliates in Philadelphia and New York for Verizon Fios customers, according to recent public reports.  Disney is also demanding Verizon pay for the ACC Network in order to keep Disney and ESPN on its channel lineup.

College football bowl games, pro football playoff games, and holiday programming are a favorite target of broadcasters at the end of each year.  Live televised marquee football games are the most frequently targeted and blacked out programming category, according to an analysis by the American Television Alliance (ATVA).

Broadcasters shattered the record for the most TV blackouts in a single calendar year in 2017, intentionally taking down signals from cable and satellite customers a staggering 213 times last year.  Consumers have been blacked out 137 times in 2018, collecting $10.1 billion in retrans fees, up from $9.3 billion in 2017.

“Tis the season for broadcaster blackouts.  Broadcasters are notorious for deliberately targeting live sports and other must-see TV at the end of the year.  Following a record year for blackouts in 2017, the blackout crisis continued to affect millions of TV viewers across the country.  This is one issue that is attracting bipartisan support and should be on the agenda for Congress next year.  The situation will continue to deteriorate for TV viewers until Congress and the FCC take action to protect consumers,” said ATVA spokesman Trent Duffy.

Retransmission consent fees (“retrans fees”) are the payments that TV distributors (cable, satellite, and other TV providers) make to broadcasters to carry their TV channels. The rules governing our video marketplace were first written in 1934 and last updated in the 1992 Cable Act. These rules were written at a time when most consumers had only one choice for pay TV service and the internet was still in its infancy.

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.

  • 137 blackouts in 2018 (And counting)
  • 213 blackouts in 2017 (A New Record)
  • 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.

TEGNA Initiates Massive TV Blackout On the Eve of College Football Conference Championships and Holiday Specials

Screens Go Dark for DISH Network Customers in 39 Markets
All-Time Blackout Tally Hits 1,000

Washington, D.C. – TEGNA, Inc. on December 1, 2018 caused a massive TV blackout on the eve of college football conference championships and holiday specials, pulling its signal from millions of DISH Network customers in 39 television markets in 34 states plus the District of Columbia.  The blackout is also dubiously historic since it is the 1,000thblackout since the crisis began years ago.  Consumers have endured 137 blackouts this year following a year that saw a record number of 213.

Although TEGNA restored its signal midday Saturday, diehard college football fans were unable to see the kickoff of the BIG12 conference championship game between No. 14 Texas and No. 5 Oklahoma on ABC.

“On behalf of consumers we are pleased to see TEGNA restore its signal, but it doesn’t change the fact that the TV blackout crisis is as bad as it’s ever been, and it will only get worse with college football and pro football playoffs on the way. It’s the old broadcaster playbook — use live sports and marquee programming to attempt to exploit customers into paying ridiculously higher fees. This is a direct hit on American wallets, their purchasing power, and the U.S. economy.  It’s way past time for Congress to modernize our country’s unfair and ancient video laws to protect consumers and empower free markets to prevail,” said Trent Duffy, ATVA spokesman.

The rules governing our video marketplace were first written in 1934 and last updated in the 1992 Cable Act. These rules were written at a time when most consumers had only one choice for pay TV service and the internet was still in its infancy.

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 1,000 broadcaster-initiated blackouts.  With 213 blackouts, 2017 was the worst year for TV blackouts on record.

  • 137 blackouts in 2018 (And Counting)
  • 213 blackouts in 2017 (A New Record)
  • 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 Applauds House Panel’s Examination of Media Marketplace

WASHINGTON, DC– The American Television Alliance (ATVA) today applauded the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s hearing to review the media marketplace. ATVA spokesman Trent Duffy released the following statement ahead of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee hearing examining the “State of the Media Marketplace.”

“ATVA thanks Chairman Blackburn and Ranking Member Doyle for holding this important hearing to examine the state of the media marketplace.  Video content is the heart of the media marketplace and it is a market that needs to be examined.

“We are grateful to Majority Whip Steve Scalise for his leadership to restart this conversation on reforming the antiquated laws that govern the video marketplace with his introduction of the “Next Generation Television Marketplace Act” of 2018.

“We live in an instant, on-demand digital world.  Consumers have unparalleled choice and competition for video content. Yet the laws that govern the video marketplace were first written in 1934 and last updated in 1992 – long before cell phones, HDTV or the Internet was even contemplated.  It is long past time for Congress to take a serious look at modernizing laws and promoting choice and competition in the media marketplace.

“We expect this hearing to advance the debate, and we look forward to engaging with Members of the Subcommittee on both sides of the aisle with fresh and creative ideas to benefit consumers and competition.”

 

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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.

New ATVA Website Shows Runaway Blackout Crisis

Site Encourages TV Fans and Blackout Victims to Urge Congress and the FCC To Overhaul Video Regulations

Washington, D.C. – One year after a record blackout crisis in the U.S., the American Television Alliance (ATVA) today launched a new website as part of its campaign to educate TV fans, blackout victims, consumers and policymakers about the ongoing blackout crisis and the billions of dollars in exorbitant retrans fees that broadcasters collect from pay-TV subscribers each year.  Retrans fees are the fastest rising part of a monthly cable or satellite subscribers bill.

Among the new features on the website is an animated GIF showing the explosion of yearly television blackouts caused by broadcasters over the past eight years. The GIF illustrates that almost every single American community has been intentionally blacked out by a broadcaster.  The site also includes more interactive graphics and integrated advocacy functions allowing constituents to communicate with Congressional Representatives and federal regulators as well as learn about the broken retrans regime.

The unveiling of the ATVA’s new website comes after broadcasters shattered the record for the most TV blackouts in a single calendar year in 2017 (213), and have already subjected consumers to 96 blackouts in 2018.

“Since ATVA first began tracking blackouts, the TV blackout crisis has gotten much worse,” said Trent Duffy, ATVA spokesman.  “Consumers have lost billions of dollars and have been used as pawns.  Our new website will be a valuable resource for consumers and policymakers in the fight to end the blackout crisis, but ultimately it is up to Congress and the FCC to take action to protect consumers from broadcaster abuse and fix this broken system.”

The “In Your Area” section of the new site makes it easy for consumers to keep track of television blackouts in their community, both past and present, and the “News Center” keeps consumers’ finger on the pulse of the fight against the broken retrans system. Finally, the “Act Now” page allows the public to contact their Members of Congress, and connect on social media platforms.

Broadcasters pocketed $9.3 billion in 2017 from pay-TV customers for ‘free’ TV, according to industry analyst SNL Kagan.  Network takedowns have surged in the last decade as broadcasters have used blackouts of marquee programming as “deal leverage” to extract higher and higher fees from consumers.

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 900 broadcaster-initiated blackouts. With 213 blackouts, 2017 was the worst year for TV blackouts on record.

  • 96 blackouts in 2018 (And Counting)
  • 213 blackouts in 2017 (A New Record)
  • 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.

On Eve of Football Kickoffs and Baseball Playoffs, ATVA Warns Fans of another #BlackoutBlitz

Broadcaster’s Past Blackouts of Football Puts Dark Cloud on New Season

Washington, D.C. – Broadcasters ran the #blackoutblitz on consumers in 2017 as the TV blackout crisis caused millions of pro and college football fans to miss some of the biggest games of the year, including pivotal matchups and post-season games. The number of blackouts in 2017 reached a record high of 213, breaking the previous calendar year record set in 2015 of 193.   At 83 blackouts already in 2018, blackouts are continuing at a record pace.

Live televised college and pro football games are the most frequently targeted and blacked out programming category.  Marquee football games are used by broadcasters in retransmission fee negotiations as “deal leverage” to extort higher fees from consumers.  When pay-TV operators refuse to give in to outrageous fee demands that are borne by consumers, broadcasters pull the plug and leave TV fans in the dark.  ATVA has asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to restrict broadcasters from being able to use marquee programming as deal leverage.  Blackouts aren’t just limited to football, however. Last year, baseball playoffs were blacked out in the same brazen attempt to secure higher fees from consumers.

Some specific examples from last season include:

  • Northwest Broadcasting’s blackout of Charter Spectrum customers for more than four months, a period that included the NFL Super Bowl and NHL Stanley Cup.
  • The 2017 MLB Playoffs, including the 2017 World Series Between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros.
  • NFL Divisional Round Playoff matchups between the Seattle Seahawks and Atlanta Falcons; Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs; and Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys.
  • The NFL’s Annual Thanksgiving Day Game between the Minnesota Vikings and The Detroit Lions.
  • Capital Broadcasting’s blackout of hometown fans in Raleigh, NC during a matchup between the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints.
  • Pivotal college football matchups including the highly anticipated matchup between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

“The TV blackout, or even the threat of one, is becoming one of the ugliest traditions in spectator sports, and it should end.  Sports fans in particular are some of the most frequent victims of broadcaster blackouts, and as this crisis grows we’re afraid this year could be the worst we’ve ever seen,” said ATVA spokesman Trent Duffy.  “This broadcaster playbook of fleecing fans will continue until Congress and the FCC take action to protect them.”

Live sporting events like football are regularly used by broadcasters to extract higher fees that are ultimately borne by consumers.  According to the American Television Alliance’s blackout tracking data, instances of post-season football blackouts are on the rise over the last two years.

The rules governing our video marketplace were first written in 1934 and last updated in the 1992 Cable Act. These rules were written at a time when most consumers had only one choice for pay TV service and the internet was still in its infancy.

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 900 broadcaster-initiated blackouts. With 213 blackouts, 2017 was the worst year for TV blackouts on record.

  • 83 blackouts in 2018 (And Counting)
  • 213 blackouts in 2017 (A New Record)
  • 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.

Widespread Support for Video Marketplace Reform

American Television Alliance

“The Next Generation Television Marketplace Act will jumpstart and elevate a long-overdue conversation about modernizing the rules of the road for how Americans access and pay for video content. The legislation is forward-thinking, free-market oriented and pro-consumer.” – Trent Duffy, American Television Alliance

Conservative and Free Market Groups

“Video content is no longer viewed solely through broadcast antenna signals or cable television, yet antiquated laws continue to regulate how one sector of the television industry operates… The Next Generation Television Marketplace Act modernizes federal laws to accommodate and invigorate today’s video marketplace.” – Thomas A. Schatz, President, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste

The Next Generation Television Marketplace Act simply removes these barriers to market negotiations by repealing carriage mandates, retransmission consent and compulsory license provisions, and restrictive ownership caps… It places television service negotiations into a free market context.” – Americans for Tax Reform

“Like many areas of our economy, the video marketplace is weighed down by burdensome and outdated regulations. The Next Generation Television Marketplace Act aims to improve that by revising carriage and licensing rules, as well as media ownership restrictions that distort outcomes and harm consumers. The result would be a freer market that better serves the needs of both viewers and market negotiators, helping to bring the world of video programming into the 21st century.” – Andrew Moylan, Director of the Interstate Commerce Initiative at the National Taxpayers Union

“The Taxpayers Protection Alliance applauds Rep. Steve Scalise’s continuing efforts to reform the video marketplace through commonsense solutions including retransmission consent reform.  The current rules that govern retransmission consent date back to 1992, a different time when there was little competition in the cable marketplace. Fast-forward to today and the market has changed in such a way that the law is far behind the technology to the point that it is harming consumers.” – David Williams, President, Taxpayers Protection Alliance

“Current laws, enacted all the way back in 1992, allow the federal government to pick winners and losers by tipping the scales in negotiations that the government has no business distorting… We at CFIF therefore applaud Rep. Scalise’s leadership, and urge Congress to pass the Next Generation Television Marketplace Act at long last.” – Timothy Lee, Vice President of Legal and Public Affairs, Center for Individual Freedom 

“Among other things, the NextGen TV Act would repeal the retransmission consent and compulsory cable licensing regulatory regime and allow negotiations for carriage of TV broadcast stations to take place in a truly free market context.” Randolph J. May, President, Free State Foundation

Industry Support

“ACA applauds Rep. Scalise for introducing legislation designed to overhaul archaic media laws and policies. The Scalise bill, to its credit, will prompt lawmakers and stakeholders to begin important conversations that should result in legislation next year that will truly serve the public interest.Matt Polka, President and CEO, American Cable Alliance

 “With the introduction of the ‘Next Generation Television Marketplace Act’ of 2018, Whip Scalise reinvigorated the conversation about video marketplace regulations. The video landscape is constantly shifting and consumers need – demand – modern rules that govern how we access and pay for video content. This is an important, contemporary conversation, and hopefully the introduction of this legislation will spur further discussion on how best to apply modern, practical rules to this dynamic and evolving industry.”USTelecom

 “Charter applauds Majority Whip Steve Scalise for reintroducing the Next Generation Television Marketplace Act. Congressman Scalise is rightly reexamining a broken system that has resulted in retransmission consent fees rising exponentially over the last decade. We look forward to working with him and his colleagues in Congress to reform the outdated rules and better protect consumers.”Charter Communications

 “The video marketplace has outgrown the 1992 Cable Act. Consumers watch, create and interact with video whenever and wherever they want it. Majority Whip Scalise’s bill recognizes this and appropriately sunsets a decades-old video law that makes no sense today. We look forward to working with the Majority Whip and others to ensure continued innovation and choice for consumers.”Tim McKone, AT&T Executive Vice President of Federal Relations

 “DISH commends Rep. Scalise for his continued leadership on behalf of consumers. The broken retransmission consent regime is in dire need of comprehensive reform, and customers have been left paying the price through broadcaster blackouts and skyrocketing retransmission consent rates.”– Jeff Blum, Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs

“The regulations used to govern the video marketplace are out of date and no longer reflect the options and ways consumers obtain and view their content. Congress should consider the changing technology enabled by a growing Internet ecosystem as they create a new video marketplace framework. We thank Representative Scalise for introducing the, “Next Generation Television Marketplace Act.” This legislation will begin the conversation to modernize our nation’s video policies as the marketplace responds to rapidly changing consumer demands.” Robert Fisher, Senior Vice President, Federal Government Relations, Verizon

“ITTA commends Congressman Steve Scalise (R-LA) for introducing the “Next Generation Television Marketplace Act.” Introduction of Rep. Scalise’s bill is an important first step in the long overdue process of updating the outdated regulatory framework that governs today’s video marketplace.”Genny Morelli, President, ITTA

“NTCA appreciates Congressman Scalise’s willingness to take on the difficult issue of updating video policy by introducing this legislation. As consumer consumption of video continues to evolve, it is essential to examine video marketplace failures and consider updates to existing laws and regulations, especially in rural areas where many residents can’t receive broadcast signals. We look forward to engaging in this important discussion with Congress, and ultimately to the passage of legislation that will address the critical shortcomings in the existing rules governing this marketplace.”Shirley Bloomfield, CEO, NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association

“The video market and consumer preferences are transitioning rapidly. We applaud Whip Scalise for introducing legislation that takes a deregulatory approach to the video marketplace and eliminates outdated rules that hurt competition.” David Bartlett, Vice President of Federal Government Affairs, CenturyLink

“This Bill gets it exactly right.  His [Scalise] Bill would repeal a steaming pile of outdated, conflicting and unnecessary government interventions into the market for distributing television programming. Of all the critical functions for which we need the Federal Government, managing and pricing the distribution of TV programs is not one of them!  The Scalise Bill would enable perfectly capable market forces to assure that consumers have access to the widest possible array of television programming from the widest possible array of distribution platforms.  And it would be fair to all industry segments.– Preston Padden, Former President of Network Distribution for Fox, former President of the ABC Television Network, former Executive VP of The Walt Disney Company