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.

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