Signal Takedown Could Impact Tens of Thousands of Subscribers

Washington, D.C. – The American Television Alliance today condemned Texas-based Nexstar Broadcasting for its brazen blackout of consumers in nine markets, including the CBS affiliate in Las Vegas, less than one week before the Super Bowl.  Nexstar’s blackout could prevent tens of thousands of Cox customers from viewing the Big Game. “Here we go again…. Two weeks ago broadcasters blacked out the NFC Championship game in South Florida, this week they’re using the Super Bowl to hold consumers hostage in Las Vegas and we wouldn’t be surprised if the Oscars are threatened later this month,” said Trent Duffy ATVA national spokesman.   “Broadcasters have a long history of using marquee events to extract higher fees and it will continue unless the laws are changed to protect consumers.” “This most recent consumer blackout is happening during an ongoing investigation by federal regulators into the blackout crisis and broadcaster tactics that hurt consumers.  While the FCC probe is an important step, it is ultimately Congress’ job to fix this problem,” said Duffy.

TV Blackout Crisis:  Blackouts Hit a Record in 2015 As Broadcasters Rake In More Money from Viewers

TV blackouts hit a record in 2015, affecting over 12 million Americans. Since 2010, millions of Americans have seen dark screens instead of watching their favorite channels due to nearly 600 broadcaster blackouts. Blackouts have soared in the past five years. ATVA began keeping track of broadcaster blackouts in 2010. Since that time there have been:

  • 26 Blackouts to date 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 over 50% of affiliates’ retrans payments will go to the networks.
  • SNL Kagan data shows that retrans fees are the fastest rising part of programming costs
  • According to an ATVA analysis of publicly available industry data and SNL Kagan data, 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.

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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.