While the end of the year appeared to be pretty quiet on the retransmission consent front with only a few disputes ongoing in 2021’s first week, 2020 was another record year for blackouts, as 336 TV stations went dark to pay TV customers vs. 278 in the prior year, according to cable industry group the American Television Alliance.
There are no winners on the local front when it comes to station blackouts, but stations can maintain goodwill by answering irate viewers’ calls, keeping clients informed and calling viewers when carriage is restored.
Nexstar Media has begun criticizing Dish Network in commercials on its stations as the retransmission dispute that has blacked out channels in 115 markets enters its third week.
Retransmission consent battles have become as much of a year-end tradition as eggnog and holly, and 2020 is no different, with at least two disputes brewing and certainly more to come. Tegna and Nexstar kicked off this year’s station negotiation season with blackouts.
Dish Network said that its subscribers lost access to the signal from stations bought by Apollo Global Management in 10 markets at 7 p.m. Saturday as retransmission consent negotiations failed. Apollo acquired the stations from Northwest Broadcasting last year.
Hearst Television, after granting four temporary extensions to DirecTV and streaming service AT&T TV Now to try to hammer out a deal, pulled its 34 broadcast stations from the satellite giant’s customers Friday evening, after the parties failed to reach a retransmission consent agreement.
Regional sports network Altitude has reached a new carriage deal with AT&T’s DirecTV, ending a two-month blackout. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Fox-owned TV stations in 17 markets as well as FS1, FS2, Big Ten Network, Fox Soccer Plus and Fox Deportes have gone dark on Dish Network in the latest carriage dispute to throw a wrench into the pay-TV ecosystem. The dispute affects Dish’s 12 million satellite households as well as millions more who subscribe to the internet-delivered bundle Sling TV, in 23 states and Washington, D.C.
The second-ranking House Republican and a key Democrat say they’ll push to end broadcasters’ ability to black out signals during negotiations with cable and satellite service providers.
Republican Whip Steve Scalise and senior Energy and Commerce Committee member Anna Eshoo said Monday they will unveil a bill in the coming weeks. It’s likely to set off a fierce lobbying battle between broadcasters, which would lose negotiating leverage, and cable providers, which stand to benefit.
NBCUniversal’s Telemundo station and cable networks have been blacked out to Liberty Cablevision’s Puerto Rico subscribers in a carriage fee dispute. The agreement was set to expire at the end of 2019, but the pact included an opt-out clause, effective March 31. A deal appeared to be close, but fell through, NBCU said.
Tegna television stations in three markets — Washington, D.C. (WUSA-CBS), Norfolk, Va. (WVEC-ABC) and Buffalo, N.Y. (WGRZ-NBC) — went dark to Verizon Communications Fios TV customers on Monday at 5 p.m. ET, after the parties failed to reach a retransmission consent agreement.
Tegna and Dish Network said they reached a multi-year carriage agreement just hours after Tegna’s stations went dark to Dish subscribers Saturday morning. The companies said that the stations’ signals will be restored to the Dish lineup immediately.
Whether you still use a coaxial cable to watch television or have converted to streaming, get used to channel blackouts and general confusion over which TV services carry your favorite programs.
A new retransmission consent agreement that took effect Feb. 11 ended a blackout that began Jan. 17 and involved 8 stations. The stations were: WCYB (NBC) Tri-Cities, Tenn.-Va.; WCTI (ABC) Greenville, N.C.; KTXS (ABC) Abilene, Texas; KECI (NBC) Missoula, Mont.; KTVM (NBC) Butte, Mont.; KRCR (ABC) Chico-Reading, Calif.; KTXE (ABC) San Angelo, Texas; and KAEF (ABC) Eureka, Calif. Not included in the blackout were stations owned by Esteem Broadcasting that are operated by Bonten under JSA and SSA arrangements.
Should a pay TV provider be legally required to offer a refund or credit if it loses a channel for a period of time due to a carriage dispute with its owner? The United States Court of Appeals of the Eighth Circuit ruled unanimously that the answer is no.
For only the third time since 1950 the Indianapolis 500 will be broadcast live in Central Indiana. Officials with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced they are lifting the local TV blackout, allowing ABC affiliate WRTV to air the race on Sunday, May 29.
Central Indiana television viewers might see the Indianapolis 500 live after all. Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials discussed lifting the blackout Monday, ultimately deciding not to so long as unsold tickets remain, and there are some.
Television channels pay a lot for rights to cover games, and they don’t want to lose audiences to computers or mobile apps. As a result, fans who pay $20 or more a month for baseball’s online video package, MLB.TV, are blocked from games involving hometown teams.