Fights over fees have led to five television blackouts this year, the most since 2000, reports Bloomberg News, pointing to pay-television operators resisting paying more to content providers as the reason.
About 19 million pay-TV customers have been affected this year, leaving some without the ability to watch shows such as the Oscars and New York Knicks games, the story says.
“There is increasing pressure for distributors to push back on rate hikes in a tough economy where the consumer is struggling,” said BTIG LLC Rich Greenfield. Content expenses, which make up about half of operating costs for pay-TV companies, have jumped about 10% in the last year. Cable bills, meanwhile, rose about 8% on average for the year ended in June, the story notes, citing researcher SNL Kagan.