Washington, D.C. – ATVA issued the following statement on the retransmission consent discussion during today’s Senate Commerce Committee hearing.
“ATVA is encouraged to hear so many members of the Senate Commerce Committee discuss retransmission consent during today’s hearing. The current retransmission consent practice was established in 1992 and is past due for modernization,” said ATVA spokesperson, Jessica Kendust. “We look forward to continued discussion on this important issue in Congress and at the FCC.”
For decades, broadcasters have been charging cable and satellite providers, and their customers, to access local stations at increasingly growing rates. Since 2010, retransmission fees paid to broadcasters have increased nearly 900% – from $1.2 billion in 2010 to more than $12 billion in annual revenue in 2020.
When their demands are not met, broadcasters often unilaterally remove their channels from TV lineups, blacking out content from cable and satellite subscribers. Broadcasters then hold their channels for ransom until TV providers agree to pay more – the same channels that are available free over the air. The volume of these blackouts has dramatically increased since the practice began – from only eight blackouts in 2010 to a record-high of more than 340 in 2020.
“ATVA is counting on Congress to institute reforms and enact more consumer-friendly broadcast distribution laws,” said Kendust. “Now is the time to update these outdated video laws for the benefit of American television consumers.”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.