ATVA Ad Takes Shot at Rising Retrans Fee as NBC Streams Super Bowl XLVI for Free

It remains to be seen how many fans will watch the first-ever streamed Super Bowl, or how they react to the second-screen Big Game experience on and

American Television Alliance, a coalition of cable operators, other distributors, content companies and public-interest groups that opposes the current retransmission-consent regime, expressed its displeasure over the free streaming situation with Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis, while broadcasters are charging high retrans fees.

On Friday, ATVA ran an ad in three prominent and strategic newspapers. ATVA took a shot against the ever-increasing rise of those fees and their cost to the American consumers with an ad that ran in the Feb. 3 editions of The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Boston Globe. The ad ran again in the Sunday edition of NYT.

The ad depicts the same line-of-scrimmage images of two teams with the pigskin in the center's hand framed within two TV monitors. One is topped by "$1.4 billion," the other, the word "Free."
From there, copy under the headline -- It's the same game. Why the big price difference - reads:  "It is awfully generous of NBC to stream Sunday's big game for free online, something is not right when broadcast networks and their affiliates demand sky-high fees at the same time they are giving away their most popular programs online. In 2011, these "retransmission consent" fees hit a record $1.4 billion-a sevenfold increase since 2006. It's time for Congress or the FCC to update rules that always work in favor of the broadcasters and against consumers. Until they do, the game will be fixed, and we'll all keep paying the price."
The ad concludes with the group's logo, slogan, A Voice For The TV Viewer, and its web address:
A spokesman for the group declined to say if the ad would run again this weekend in those publications or other newspapers in DC, or the home markets of the Super Bowl XLVI combatants, the New York Giants and New England Patriots.
In a recent restrans flap with DirecTV that sparked much scrutiny by Massachusetts legislators and calls to the FCC, Sunbeam's TV stations, NBC affiliates WLVI and WHDH in Boston and WSVN in Miami went dark on the top DBS provider's air. The impasse threatened the availability of the NFL championship game for DirecTV subscribers in the Miami DMA, as well as in the Patriots' home market. The parties, however, reached an accord on Jan. 26.
ATVA's membership includes Time Warner Cable, Cablevision, Verizon FiOS, Dish Network, AT&T U-verse, American Cable Association, Public Knowledge, the Parents Television Council and Starz, among more than two dozen others.