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Carriage Blackouts Have Cost Cable Nets $179.5M Since 2013

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(Image credit: iStock)

NEW YORK—As cord-cutting and declines in cable network viewing make negotiating carriage deals between operators and programmers increasingly difficult, new research from S&P Global Market Intelligence's Kagan shows that cable networks have lost $179.5 million in affiliate fees since 2013. 

The losses cover cable carriage disputes that resulted in blackouts but were eventually resolved. 

In 2020 alone, cable network companies lost $18.4 million because of these disputes.

The Kagan analysis found that the biggest losses were in 2016, with $37.4 million in cable network affiliate revenue lost. The $18.4 million losses in 2020 were slightly down from $19.0 million in 2019 and significantly down from $31.4 million in 2018.

One of the higher stakes cable cable blackouts in recent years was the dispute between Fox Corp. and Dish Network Corp., which made Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2, BTN and Fox Deportes go dark on Dish from Sept. 26 to Oct. 6, 2019, according to Kagan.

The most expensive resolved carriage dispute was a blackout lasting 1,057 days between Viacom and Suddenlink, which cost the networks $38.6 million, followed by a blackout lasting 1,567 days between Comcast’s networks and Verizon that cost $35.3 million.

ViacomCBS suffered the largest revenue loss from these disputes between 2013 and 2020, with $40 million in losses, followed by Comcast’s networks ($35.3 million), Fox ($34.4 million) and the National Football League ($31 million,) according to Kagan

Looking at individual networks, The Weather Channel's 1,567-day blackout on Verizon Communications Inc. registered the largest loss from a resolved carriage dispute since 2013, with more than $31.5 million in lost carriage fees.

The full analysis is available here.  

(Image credit: Kagan)

(Image credit: Kagan)
George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.