TEGNA’s Negotiation Tactic Threatens Blackout

WASHINGTON – Today, ATVA issued a statement responding to the upcoming potential blackout of Verizon customers by TEGNA.

“TEGNA is once again demanding unreasonable price increases during a retransmission negotiation – this time with Verizon. As we’ve seen before, TEGNA isn’t afraid to use customer blackouts to try and achieve their demands. If TEGNA continues this harmful pattern, Verizon subscribers in markets including Washington, D.C., Buffalo, Harrisburg, and Norfolk will wake up New Year’s Day to missing channels,” said ATVA spokesperson Jessica Kendust.

For nearly two decades, broadcasters like TEGNA have been charging cable and satellite providers, and their customers, to access local stations. 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 revenue broadcasters have gained from these fees has grown to more than 12 billion dollars today. 

Tegna is already currently dark with millions of consumers across the country, including:

  • A blackout of Mediacom customers that began almost an entire year ago – on December 31, 2020. 

“At this point, TEGNA is making blackouts normalized extortion,” stated Kendust. “It’s time our leaders at the FCC and in Congress hold them – and other broadcasters who frequently use this tactic – accountable.”

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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.

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