Designated Market Areas (DMA)
The United States is divided into 210 designated market areas (DMA) by Nielsen Media Research, which defines these regions as a group of counties in which the commercial TV stations in the Metro/Central area achieve the largest audience share.
These areas do not overlap, though rural regions with few significant population centers can also be designated as markets and, conversely, very large metropolitan areas can sometimes be subdivided into multiple segments. These market areas can also be used to define restrictions on rebroadcasting of broadcast television signals.
Satellite companies are permitted to provide local broadcast TV signals to all subscribers who reside in the local DMA but are not required to do so. This ability to provide local broadcast channels is commonly referred to as "local into local" service.
However, existing laws and regulations prohibit satellite and cable operators, except in limited circumstances, from offering consumers broadcast signals from outside of the DMA in which they reside, even if an alternative broadcast signal may provide in-state local content.
Even in those limited circumstances where permissible, broadcasters generally refuse to provide retransmission consent for such carriage, or cannot do so because of network prohibitions.
For more information on this issue please contact your satellite provider or the SBCA at (202) 349-3640.