Oct 1, 2019

Sports are a flashpoint as satellite TV struggles with blackouts

Data: MoffettNathanson; Chart: Axios Visuals

Of all the major TV blackouts happening this year, many of the biggest conflicts are occurring between the two big satellite companies and TV networks.

Why it matters: The Pay-TV business is in terminal decline, and in some ways, satellite operators are feeing the losses more than their cable counterparts, who are able to lean more heavily on broadband sales to recoup the losses.

Be smart: Sports has become a flashpoint point for blackout disputes, as Pay-TV operators argue that the value of live sports is decreasing with viewership declines. TV networks are increasingly trying to bundle their sports channels into their Pay-TV package offerings.

Diving the news: NBC Sports Chicago went dark for Dish TV and Sling TV subscribers last night. The network warned it could go dark for AT&T customers, but it seems as though the two entities are in negotiation.

  • CBS stations went dark on DirecTV and AT&T Now this summer for three weeks during the start of the NFL pre-season.
  • Fox stations went dark on DISH and Sling TV customers in 17 markets across 23 states and DC, impacting millions of sports fans who will no longer be able to access networks like FS1, FS2, Big 10 Network, Fox Soccer Plus and Fox Deportes.

Go deeper: 2019 sees record number of TV blackouts

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Major sports leagues are experimenting with airing single games on multiple TV, digital and social channels at the same time, giving rise to sports "multicasts" or different ways for the consumers to experience the same game.

Why it matters: In a traditional TV world, almost all sports coverage was delivered through one live, linear feed, with one set of announcers and analysts.

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Satellite broadband's boom

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

While satellite pay-TV services are in a death spiral, modern satellite-powered broadband services are raising big investments and a lot of high expectations.

Why it matters: Access to broadband is essential in today's economy, but roughly half of the globe's population still lacks reliable access to it. Companies well-positioned to build and deploy satellites see an opening to provide that service to a world hungry for fast connections.

Go deeperArrowOct 15, 2019

The fight over small-town TV

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

TV station owners are taking advantage of FCC rules to quietly take over small-town airwaves, but cable and satellite companies are crying foul to regulators.

Driving the news: Broadcasters aren't supposed to own more than one top-rated outlet in any market, but they are snapping up multiple stations anyway in small markets like Parkersburg, West Virginia and Greenville, Mississippi, as the broadcast TV market is challenged by changes in technology and advertising.

Go deeperArrowOct 22, 2019