What do others say?

Don’t just take our word for it – read what others are saying about high programming fees and blackouts

Local broadcast stations

Tribune Warns Charter Customers of Possible Blackouts

Tribune Media is warning Charter Communications customers in 24 markets that they may lose access to broadcast programming if a new retransmission consent deal isn’t reached, just one of several retrans related blackouts that could occur in the New Year. READ MORE

ACA Calls On Nexstar To End Disgraceful Blackout Of HTC

“Instead of being a straight-forward business negotiation, retransmission consent is used by corporate broadcasters to abuse their market power to extract outrageous fees from cable customers.” READ MORE

ACA: Without Conditions, Nexstar-Tribune Should Be Nixed

Polka said as currently proposed, the merger would lead to more signal blackouts and “price gouging” by Nexstar–it cited Nexstar’s boast of boosting its retrans revenue by $75 million through after-acquired clauses, which apply a buyers’ retrans rates to acquired stations.
And he wasn’t through: “Nexstar has a long history of using its dominant market position to impose punishing retransmission consent fee increases on smaller MVPDs. And if Nexstar can’t get its fee hike, it will resort to signal blackouts timed to maximize viewer inconvenience, such as prior to national holidays or marquee sporting and entertainment events.” READ MORE

Nexstar CBS affiliate in South Carolina becomes latest retransmission battleground

Duffy added that, “In the long term, we need Congress and the FCC to fix this, because broadcaster blackouts are at record highs and TV customers are being exploited.” READ MORE

Murdochs Say Retrans Rates Could Rise ‘Aggressively’ at New Fox

“We see great potential to increase our retransmission revenue quite aggressively,” Lachlan Murdoch said on a conference call to discuss fiscal second quarter results.  READ MORE

TV Blackouts Will Only Get Worse

They’re the consequence of media companies merging and sequestering their content. Signal disruptions, or blackouts, spiked in the U.S. last year. They involved 29 TV stations… and more than 200 markets were affected. And that’s just for broadcast signals. READ MORE

Retrans revenue to grow to $13B by 2028, analyst says

Broadcasters will be collectively taking in around $13 billion from the pay TV industry in the form of retransmission licensing payments by 2028, an analyst predicts.  READ MORE

Dish Network-Sinclair dispute sparks record 129-station TV blackout

A record 129 local TV stations have been blacked out for Dish Network Corp. customers around the U.S. due to a contract dispute between Dish and Sinclair Broadcasting Group Inc. The action affecting Dish Network satellite-television subscribers in 79 TV markets in 36 states and the District of Columbia is the largest-ever blackout of stations from a re-transmission contract disagreement, according to Variety, the entertainment trade publication. READ MORE

Dish: 750 blackouts have come as retrans fees have grown 27,400%

“Broadcasters continue to use their in-market monopoly power to put profits ahead of their public interest obligations. The proof is in the numbers: Consumers have suffered more than 750 broadcaster blackouts since 2010, and the retransmission consent fees that broadcasters demand grew 27,400% between 2005 and 2016.”  READ MORE  

John Malone Dishes on What Cable Companies Need to Do

If you’re mad as hell over your rising cable bill, blame programmers not your cable company, Liberty Media Chairman John Malone said in a take-no-prisoners interview Wednesday. “The villains are usually the programmers . . . We get the blame for it in the distribution side even though the pressure on pricing is all coming out of content.” READ MORE

Retransmission revenues explode

Retransmission growth continued to be a huge source of revenue for broadcasters in the second quarter. The results all feed into a recent report from Kagan that stated the total amount of retransmission fees collected by U.S. broadcasters from traditional and virtual MVPDs is expected to reach $12.8 billion by 2023. READ MORE

Dish uses Senate hearings to blast broadcasters over blackouts

Dish called out the increasing amounts of money broadcasters demand for retransmission consent, adding that retransmission fees have risen 22,500 percent between 2005 and 2015.  “If the price of other consumer goods rose that fast, consumers would be priced out of almost everything – a dozen eggs would be nearly $350, a large coffee would be over $400 and a gallon of milk would be over $700,” said Schneider in her testimony.

Schneider said that “broadcasters’ disproportionate leverage” has led a rise in blackouts, from 12 blackouts in 2010 to more than 180 blackouts in 2015. “Blackouts inflict real injury on distributors, while barely leaving a mark on the broadcasters.”

In addition to going in on broadcasters, Dish’s Schneider also called out programmers for bundling practices that force distributors to accept channels they don’t want in order to get the channels their customer do want. READ MORE

Cable networks

Disney Warns Verizon FiOS Customers About Potential Blackout

Verizon said Disney “is currently proposing that Verizon pay hundreds of millions of dollars more for its programming, despite the fact that many of its key networks are experiencing declining viewership.” It added, “The rising cost of programming is the biggest factor in higher TV bills and we are standing up to networks like Disney, refusing to accept these huge increases.”READ MORE

AT&T trial hears of consequences if Turner networks go dark

The U.S. government opposes the deal, arguing that it would hurt consumers because AT&T, which owns pay TV service DirecTV, would have more leverage to raise prices by owning Time Warner’s Turner networks. READ MORE

Dish Customers Lose Access to Turner’s CNN, Cartoon Network and Other Nets

It’s the latest head-butting over carriage terms in the pay-TV biz, as programmers continue to seek regular fee increases for their networks. READ MORE

21st Century Fox’s Chase Carey: ‘A La Carte is a Fantasy’

“The reality is that this content is such an important part of daily life that people will give up food and a roof over their head before they give up television.” says Chase Carey, President of 21st Century Fox. READ MORE

American TV Alliance Warns of Blackouts

Football always seems to bring out the retrans fireworks, so much so that the American TV Alliance (made up largely of MVPDs) sent out a missive warning consumers of a potential #blackoutblitz timed to football kickoffs and MLB post-season play. READ MORE


How the Dodgers’ $8.3B TV deal turned into an unmitigated disaster

And that’s really the lesson in this Dodgers snafu, an unnaturally large microcosm of how the sports industry has transformed in the last quarter-century. The smartest executives saw the power of TV money, whether national for the NFL or local in baseball, and hoarded it like a prepper does gold. As teams celebrated their newfound bounty, those with cable and satellite subscriptions bore the brunt of the cost. READ MORE

DIRECTV Says Charter Got a Deal to Carry TWC SportsNet LA

“We continue to hope TWC and the Dodger front office will compromise with the rest of Southern California’s providers so all Dodger fans can watch their games without burdening everyone else with significantly higher fees,” reads the DirecTV statement. READ MORE


Simers: Dodgers’ Turn to Play Everyone for a Fool

Aren’t fees to watch the Dodgers and Lakers just another clever way of collecting public money for the welfare of our billionaire sports owners? We cringe at the very notion of having our money, which has already been collected in taxes, being used to help fund a new NFL stadium. So why isn’t there revolt in the streets at the thought of having to pay $8 or $9 a month for the rest of our TV viewing lives to tune in the Dodgers and Lakers? READ MORE

How Local Sports Could Change All of Television

Local cable providers such as Cox, Charter, AT&T U-Verse, and DirecTV refuse to pay Time Warner a licensing fee rumored to be $4 to $5, and possibly as high as $8 over time. (Remember that the fee for ESPN, a national network, is in the $5 range.)  READ MORE

Rising TV Fees Mean All Viewers Pay to Keep Sports Fans Happy

DirecTV, the country’s most popular satellite service, and Verizon FiOS have started adding a $2 to $3 monthly surcharge in markets like New York and Los Angeles to pay for regional sports networks. The eye-popping price tags have restarted debate about a topic near and dear to sports fans, fairness: many TV customers never watch the mightily expensive channels at all, yet almost all must pay. Pretty much everybody in the business agrees that the overall costs are outrageous.  READ MORE