According to EW Scripps Chief Executive Officer Adam Symson, the time has arrived for the next frontier of TV viewing: The antenna. EW Scripps plans to begin an advocacy campaign this year to explain the value of the antenna, Symson said. While he declined to say if his plan would involve giving away antennas for free or at a discounted price to consumers. For the past decade, broadcast station groups have collected fees from pay-TV operators Comcast, Direct TV, Dish, Charter, etc. for the right to carry their stations. The trend began around 2006 when station groups realised consumers wanted access to their local TV channels just as much as if not more than they wanted the most popular cable networks which had long charged carriage fees. Total paid re-transmission fees paid to station group owners grew from about $200 million in 2006 to more than $10 billion by 2018.
The focus for local broadcasters really needs to be ‘let’s get our viewers something compelling to watch that you can’t find anywhere else,’” said Perry. “Let’s leverage what we do best, which is covering our communities.