Don’t just take our word for it – read what others are saying about high programming fees and blackouts
The talks stalled because Tegna had demanded a “significant rate increase” for its channels, said Verizon in a statement on its website. “The rising cost of programming is the single biggest factor in higher TV bills, and we are standing up to broadcasters like Tegna in order to protect you from rate increases,” Verizon said. READ MORE
Dish blamed Tegna, saying the broadcaster wanted to double it rates for local channels, even as broadcast TV ratings decline. “Tegna refused Dish’s offer to extend the contract, instead choosing to black out its stations on the eve of college football’s conference championships and during the homestretch for the NFL season. It couldn’t be more obvious that TEGNA is using its own viewers as leverage as it demands nearly double the monthly rates, even as ratings on broadcast TV are down double digits,” said Dish SVP. READ MORE
Dish charged that Tegna was seeking “above-market rate increases” that are twice what the satcaster currently pays. “With Dish willing to grant an extension and a retroactive true-up on rates, Tegna had nothing to lose and consumers had everything to gain by leaving the channels up,” Warren Schlichting, Dish senior VP of programming, said in a statement. “Instead, Tegna chose to turn its back on its public interest obligations and use innocent consumers as bargaining chips.” READ MORE
The year is only a little more than halfway over, yet 2019 television blackouts already have reached the previous annual record, according to the American Television Alliance (ATVA). The year already has seen 230 blackouts in which broadcasters block video providers from carrying their content. The previous annual record was set in 2017. Last year’s annual total was 165. READ MORE
Over the past few months, we’ve seen channels dropped across the cable, satellite, and streaming industries — most frequently local channels. While content disputes have happened across locals, sports, and entertainment — its locals and regional sports where the biggest disputes have occurred. And it comes down to costs, at least in terms of locals, for something that previously was free. READ MORE
Fox has started spreading the word that its distribution deal with Altice USA is set to expire in the coming days, warning that a blackout could leave millions of Optimum and Suddenlink subscribers without access to key fall programming. The pact covers the Fox broadcast network, FX, FS1, Nat Geo and other networks, so the dispute threatens big draws like NFL and college football and the upcoming Major League Baseball playoffs.
“We are disappointed that they have started threatening to black out certain channels in an effort to extract hundreds of millions of dollars in new fees from us and our customers,” [Altice’s] statement said. “Programming costs are the greatest contributor to rising cable costs, and we urge Fox to stop its threats and instead focus on negotiating an agreement that is fair for consumers.” READ MORE
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
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
Disney is set to renew its multiyear carriage agreement with Charter, the second-largest U.S. pay TV provider. But this particular Disney deal has widespread implications for how future TV carriage deals will be crafted. The outcome could lead to more contentious battles between TV providers and content creators, and perhaps stem the tide of rising cable TV bills. READ MORE
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 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
Greenfield said the current RSN economic model – which essentially forces pay TV subscribers to subsidize the cost of the channels, even if they don’t watch them – does not work anymore for distributors. READ MORE
Regional sports networks are are very expensive. They are a good part of the reason cable bills are so high. To cut down on those bills, many people are moving to so-called skinny bundles. These bundles often have ESPN and the major networks, but avoid the RSNs to keep costs down. Even dedicated sports fans seem willing to live without them. READ MORE
Sinclair will likely control distribution for 16 of the 30 major league franchises. That could pose problems for fans trying to watch their favorite team. More worrisome is Sinclair leveraging the RSNs with their other stations. Sinclair has a history of blackouts from when it attempted to utilize the same practices with its prior sports network, the Tennis Channel, resulting in customers losing local programming. READ MORE