ATVA: 2019 Retrans Blackouts Tie Previous Record

Meredith Corp.’s blackout of its 17 stations in 14 markets to Dish Network customers helped push the total retrans blackout tally to 213 so far this year, tying the previous record set in 2017 with nearly five months remaining in the year, according to industry group the American Television Alliance (ATVA).

Meredith stations went dark to Dish customers on July 16, the latest in what has been a string of retrans blackouts in the past three weeks. Since May 30, DirecTV has weathered the most blackouts -- about 142 stations in 111 markets in two retrans skirmishes with a group of 17 stations in 14 markets, many managed by Sinclair Broadcast Group and Nexstar Media Group (125 stations in 97 markets). An additional 19 stations owned and operated by CBS could go dark to DirecTV customers on July 19 if a deal isn’t reached by then.

The retrans picture looked a lot brighter earlier in the year -- ATVA, which counts Dish and DirecTV among its members, said in June that the number of blackouts was down to about 62, and that the hope was the year would end with the number of blackouts slowing down. That wasn’t to be the case.

The tally for 2019 is well ahead of the previous year, when there were 165 blackouts, according to ATVA. The organization estimates there have been more than 1,000 blackouts since 2010. Here’s a year-by-year roundup, courtesy of the ATVA:

  • 213 blackouts in 2019
  • 165 blackouts in 2018
  • 213 blackouts in 2017
  • 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