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.

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