TEGNA Initiates Massive TV Blackout On the Eve of College Football Conference Championships and Holiday Specials

Dec 3, 2018

Screens Go Dark for DISH Network Customers in 39 Markets
All-Time Blackout Tally Hits 1,000

Washington, D.C. – TEGNA, Inc. on December 1, 2018 caused a massive TV blackout on the eve of college football conference championships and holiday specials, pulling its signal from millions of DISH Network customers in 39 television markets in 34 states plus the District of Columbia.  The blackout is also dubiously historic since it is the 1,000thblackout since the crisis began years ago.  Consumers have endured 137 blackouts this year following a year that saw a record number of 213.

Although TEGNA restored its signal midday Saturday, diehard college football fans were unable to see the kickoff of the BIG12 conference championship game between No. 14 Texas and No. 5 Oklahoma on ABC.

“On behalf of consumers we are pleased to see TEGNA restore its signal, but it doesn’t change the fact that the TV blackout crisis is as bad as it’s ever been, and it will only get worse with college football and pro football playoffs on the way. It’s the old broadcaster playbook — use live sports and marquee programming to attempt to exploit customers into paying ridiculously higher fees. This is a direct hit on American wallets, their purchasing power, and the U.S. economy.  It’s way past time for Congress to modernize our country’s unfair and ancient video laws to protect consumers and empower free markets to prevail,” said Trent Duffy, ATVA spokesman.

The rules governing our video marketplace were first written in 1934 and last updated in the 1992 Cable Act. These rules were written at a time when most consumers had only one choice for pay TV service and the internet was still in its infancy.

TV Blackout Crisis: 2017 Breaks Blackout Record as Broadcasters Rake in Billions from Viewers

Since 2010, millions of Americans have seen dark screens instead of watching their favorite channels due to 1,000 broadcaster-initiated blackouts.  With 213 blackouts, 2017 was the worst year for TV blackouts on record.

  • 137 blackouts in 2018 (And Counting)
  • 213 blackouts in 2017 (A New Record)
  • 104 blackouts in 2016
  • 193 blackouts in 2015
  • 94 blackouts in 2014
  • 119 blackouts in 2013
  • 90 blackouts in 2012
  • 42 blackouts in 2011
  • 8 blackouts in 2010

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.