In response to broadcasters’ ad campaign falsely claiming that cable and satellite companies want to end “free TV,” the American Television Alliance and the American Cable Association released an ad warning consumers not to be “fooled” and pointing out that broadcasters are receiving billions of dollars from pay-TV customers. Mediacom, a member of ATVA and ACA, has joined other cable companies in running the ad around the country.
“Broadcast TV stations are trying desperately to keep their ability to charge even higher prices for local broadcast TV signals and limit consumer choice,” the ad states. The ad counters the “Keep My TV” campaign launched by the National Association of Broadcasters in order to preserve the current “retransmission consent” regime. These rules were created decades ago and allow broadcasters to take billions for TV they claim is “free.”
The NAB ad claims, “Nearly 60 million Americans depend on free local TV,” but according to Nielsen, only about 5 percent of homes are broadcast-TV only. For the 95 percent of Americans that watch TV with cable or satellite, their local TV is far from free, with broadcasters projected to make $25 billion in fees over the next five years.
“This latest campaign by broadcasters is a last-ditch attempt to scare consumers into thinking that the current retrans system benefits them,” ATVA spokesman Brian Frederick said. “Nothing’s going to happen to over-the-air broadcast TV. This is about whether pay-TV customers should be forced to pay billions for “free” TV.”
To view the ad and see how Mediacom, ATVA and ACA are fighting back against the higher rates being charged by broadcasters, click the play button on the video above.