Retransmission consent fees are the fastest growing part of consumers’ monthly cable bills. Smaller cable operators will be paying as much as three dollars per subscriber per month in 2018, if not more, and these fees will increase further over the next three years.
Retrans fees are a tremendous source of income for TV station owners. These fees will cost U.S. consumers served by satellite and cable operators $11.6 billion by 2022, up from $8.6 billion in 2017, a 35% increase in just five years. Corporate broadcasters are using their size to squeeze money out of consumers so that they can make up for their ailing business models in the form of slumping ad sales.
The cost to carry the top four broadcast stations exceeds the cost of any individual cable network, including ESPN, which is the most expensive one to carry. What’s more, the cost to carry these stations is equivalent to the combined cost to carry the 11 most widely distributed cable networks.