Broadcaster Pulls the Plug on DISH Customers Nationwide; Millions of Homes Impacted
Washington, D.C.– The American Television Alliance (ATVA), a voice for the TV viewer, today condemned Univision’s massive nationwide blackout of millions of DISH, DishLATINO and Sling TV customers in every major market in the U.S. Univision’s deliberate blackout is a familiar tactic; last year, the broadcaster pulled its programming from Charter Communications and Verizon, leaving millions of consumers without access to their programming. Univision also blacked out AT&T customers in 2016. Univision’s blackout of millions of customers came on the eve of closely watched national elections in Mexico.
“Univision is holding its programming for ransom in a naked ploy to extract higher fees from consumers,” said Trent Duffy, ATVA spokesman. “Univision’s plans to drastically increase the rates they charge customers will only result in higher bills for people in their communities. This is nothing but an attempted money grab by Univision Communications Inc. executives.”
“Contrary to what Univision would like the public to believe, cable, satellite and telco providers cannot ‘drop’ a local station,” Duffy added. “Univision is solely responsible for this blackout, and they alone have the power to restore their signal and end this blackout immediately. Univision, as the owner of the signal, can restore its programming to DISH customers at any time, even while negotiations continue. “
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 were blacked out twice as many times in 2017 as they were in 2016 – a 107 percent increase year over year.
The record number of TV blackouts deprived tens of millions of Americans of network programming, local news and weather, and live sporting events. 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.
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.