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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

Customers frustrated as Mediacom and TEGNA continue blackout dispute

“Mediacom is also upset that your local broadcaster has removed the channel from your line-up. They have done so to pressure us to significantly raise your local broadcast station surcharges,” and encouraged customers to contact TEGNA. Read more

Stations Reaped a Blackout Bounty

2020 was another record year for blackouts, as 336 broadcast stations went dark to pay TV customers vs. 278 in the prior year, according to industry group the American Television Alliance. In a statement, ATVA said the broadcast industry’s use of blackouts as a negotiating tool, especially during a pandemic, was outrageous and reiterated its call for regulatory reform. Read more

Cable TV Retrans Feuds and Blackouts Make Their Way To Streaming TV

For the last decade or so, U.S. cable TV customers have been plagued by a steady parade of content blackouts as cable providers and broadcasters bicker over new programming contracts. This being Sinclair’s particular brand of highly partisan, homogenized disinfotainment, many won’t care that they lose access to these networks. Sinclair obviously cares, given that fuboTV, YouTube TV, and SlingTV (Dish Network) removed the company’s costly regional sports channels last year from their own streaming lineups, contributing to a $4.18 billion loss for Sinclair in the third quarter. Read more

Under Pressure to Pay Hefty NFL Debts, TV Stations Will Use FCC’s Broken ‘Retrans’ Rules to Gouge Consumers

The NFL announced new TV rights agreements with CBS, NBC, Fox, and Disney’s ABC and ESPN. According to published reports, these deals are worth an estimated $95 billion combined — more than double their current annual payments to the NFL. In order to make up for their massive NFL obligations, broadcasters will hike their prices even higher — and, ironically, use blackouts of NFL games themselves in order to do so. Read more

Cable networks

fuboTV Drops FX, FXX, FXM, National Geographic & More

Disney often requires services to carry all of their networks if they want someone of them. It seems the fact that fuboTV does not offer ESPN means they can’t also have FX, FXX, FXM, and National Geographic. Read more

Cable Blackouts Growing More Common, Even If Subscribers Get Angry

Among media companies, “going dark” was once a matter of last resort. Now it’s an option that is seeing more light. If getting top dollar from Madison Avenue has grown more difficult, then media companies are forced to rely more heavily on the retransmission fees they get from cable and satellite operators. Read more

A timeline of price hikes at YouTube TV, DirecTV Now and other vMVPDs

Here’s a timeline of price hikes – pieced together using data collected by UBS – that vMVPDs have instituted over the past year and a half. For many of the vMVPDs that began life as bargain alternatives to traditional cable or satellite, the pressure of programming costs and growing channel lineups have led to necessary price increases. Read more

The True Cost to Consumers of Pay TV’s Top Channels

Individual networks continue to increase the monthly carriage fees they charge MVPDs for access to their content, which is in turn passed along to consumers. The most expensive basic cable channels are rarely viewed by a majority of subscribers. Read more


Hoping to watch FSN on Hulu or YouTube TV? The future looks bleak

In early fall, both YouTube TV and Hulu dropped the Sinclair-owned regional sports networks — including Fox Sports North — from the list of channels it offers. It was the latest blow for cord-cutting sports fans who had subscribed to those services or previously had Sling TV and/or Fubo, which dropped the RSNs more than a year ago. Read more

#GameOver: Regional Sports Networks: NBA, MLB and NHL Need New Media Strategy

Earlier this week, an RSN owner finally admitted publicly what we already knew: the ONLY viable RSN economic model is to force everyone who takes multichannel television to pay an exorbitant price/sub/month to subsidize the TINY minority of fans that want to watch the channel; essentially forcing subscribers to subsidize how much the RSNs have overpaid the teams for media rights.

The proper business model is clearly an a la carte offering similar to the UK where you pay extra for Sky Sports if you are a passionate European football fan or how consumers pay a la carte for HBO today. Read more

Dish Network May Cut Ties With Regional Sports Networks

Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen suggested that the blackout of the 21 RSNs and YES Network … could extend indefinitely. “It doesn’t look good that the regional sports will ever be on Dish again,” Ergen said, noting that the high cost of carrying the channels may justify dropping them altogether.

Other than ESPN and its family of spinoff networks, no programming costs cable and satellite TV customers more than the top-tier RSNs. With an average affiliate fee of $6.74 per sub per month, the New York Yankees’ YES Network is the most expensive RSN. Both figures are in stark contrast to the average fee for all nationally-distributed cable channels, which works out to around 30 cents a pop. Read more

Report: Sports Programming Costs Average $18.55 Per User or 22.1% of ARPU

Kagan’s research suggests that the fees pay-TV providers charge customers for sports networks are less than programming costs for those networks. According to the researchers, the average cost per subscriber for sports networks was $13.30 in 2018 – which is less than the average sports programming cost of $18.55 per subscriber. Read more

What the NFL’s new TV deal means for the league, fans and networks

The broadcast channels will likely increase the fees they charge cable companies to carry them over the life of the deal, meaning fans will ultimately pay for some of the higher rights fees. Fox, CBS and NBC are paying around $2 billion annually, basically doubling the amounts they are paying in their current deals. ESPN, which currently pays around $2 billion for its Monday Night package, will pay around $2.7 annually in the new pact. Read more