In 2010, there were eight instances when channels were taken off the air because of an impasse between broadcasters and cable, and video operators. In 2019, the number of channel blackouts grew to 281.
Why are these channel blackouts on the rise?
A flattening of TV ad dollars, rising production costs, and the recent flurry of acquisitions by Disney, Comcast, and CBS/AT&T have meant these companies are looking for areas to grow revenue.
Every day local cable operators like TDS, work on behalf of our customers to ensure our communities have access to the TV programming they want at reasonable prices. We are more than just service providers to our communities, we both live and work in our communities we serve. We deliver the technology that connects families, businesses, municipalities, hospitals, schools, and the larger economy to cities and towns across America. Never has this been more important than during the current pandemic. Families have relied on our service to keep them connected to what matters.
While viewers are declining across the board, broadcast TV owners’ revenue is rising. In 2014, there were 35 million viewers and TV owners’ revenue reached $5 billion. In 2019, there were 28 million viewers, but TV owners’ revenue skyrocketed to $11.6 billion, a whopping 65 percent increase over the last three years as reported by SNL Kagan.
TDS is currently in negotiations with several broadcasters to carry or “retransmit” its TV station signals in several communities we serve throughout the country. Local cable operators like TDS, work to reach mutually acceptable agreements with corporate broadcasters that allow access to the network programs TV viewers have come to love and expect to watch. Throughout these negotiations, our goal is to keep cable bills low and programs on the air.
As your neighbor and local small business, we have a stake in your viewing experience. We understand you have many choices when it comes to watching TV content, and we thank you for choosing us to provide you with high quality programming. Our goal is to keep the connections—with our communities and the programs you love. That’s why we fight on your behalf during negotiations with large corporate broadcasters.
For more information about how and why local companies like TDS are subject to these negotiations every few years, visit our website to learn more.