Consumers Believe Congress Should Prohibit Broadcasters’ Ability to Blackout Channels According To New Survey

Oct 16, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the American Television Alliance (ATVA), a coalition of consumer groups, cable, satellite, telephone companies and independent programmers, released a national survey on broadcast blackouts and the dramatic growth of retransmission fees paid by cable and satellite companies and their subscribers. Broadcaster blackouts occur when a broadcaster removes its TV channels from a distributor’s lineup during contractual negotiations. According to the poll of 900 consumers, a clear majority (56%) say broadcasters should not be permitted to pull their signal while negotiating retransmission fees.

“Time and time again broadcasters are using blackouts to extract more money from consumers; it needs to stop,” said Trent Duffy, ATVA Spokesman.  “It’s clear that consumers are fed up and want Congress to stop this punitive behavior by the broadcasters.”

Retransmission fees are the fastest rising portion of consumers’ TV bills, increasing from $215 million in 2006 to $11.7 billion in 2019, an increase of 5,359%. The survey, which was completed last month by Public Opinion Strategies and David Binder Research, also found that 71% of consumers after hearing this information agree that broadcasters should not be able to abuse outdated rules to boost their bottom lines. In addition, the poll showed that upon learning about broadcaster’s practices, 68% of consumers find the concerns of rising costs and bad faith use of broadcast blackouts convincing as reasons broadcasters should not be permitted to pull their signals during retransmission negotiations.

ATVA is calling on Congress to protect consumers by reforming laws around retransmission consent and prohibiting broadcaster blackouts.

(Polling Memo Below)

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.

For more information about ATVA, visit our website. Follow us on Twitter @ATVAlliance.