ATVA: Nexstar Blackout Argues for STELAR Renewal

The American Television Alliance (ATVA) is using the Nextar/DirecTV retrans impasse to pitch Congress on renewing STELAR.

That is the satellite license law that also includes requiring the FCC to enforce good faith negotiations in retrans disputes.

ATVA keeps reporters updated on the number of blackouts it says have been engineered by broadcasters looking for excessive fee increases, a view broadcasters, who argue they are simply finally getting full value for undervalued, must-have content, understandably dispute.

"This major blackout brings this year’s surging total to 201 overall – a 22 percent leap over the entire 2018 count – and there’s still more than five months and the typical New Year’s Eve salvo still to go," said ATVA, whose members include smaller cable and satellite operators.

More than 120 Nexstar stations have been off DirecTV and U-Verse platforms since July 3, with each side blaming the other and legislators weighing in to ask them to come to terms ASAP.

“Congress should not only re-authorize STELAR to maintain the FCC’s authority to enforce 'good faith'rules," said ATVA's Trent Duffy, "but also modernize the retransmission consent rules, which currently favor broadcasters at the expense of consumers and competition."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.