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DIRECTV Loses 48 Stations In 2 Fee Fights – UPDATE #3

Update #3: Cox Media and DIRECTV announce new deal. See details. 

At the crack of midnight on New Year’s Day, DIRECTV lost 48 local stations in two separate fee fights.

Thirty-three stations are owned by Hearst Television, including the ABC affiliate in Boston, the NBC affiliate in New Orleans, and the NBC station in Baltimore, while 15 are owned by Cox Media, including the Fox affiliate in Boston, the NBC affiliate in Pittsburgh, and the CBS affiliate in Seattle.

TVAnswerman.com has asked AT&T, which owns DIRECTV, for a comment, but the company has yet to respond.

Update #2: AT&T late this afternoon issued this statement:

“We want to get our customers’ usual local broadcast stations back into their lineups and share their frustration. Cox Broadcasting and Hearst Television are currently preventing their local signals from reaching our customers’ homes unless Cox and Hearst receive a significant increase in fees just to allow those same families to watch shows available for free over-the-air and that the broadcast networks typically make available for free online and through new digital apps. Cox and Hearst have both suspended their stations briefly from others providers’ customers before so we appreciate our customers’ patience as we work to resolve this matter quickly and reasonably.”

Cox Media stations posted notices this morning at their web sites that they are continuing to negotiate with DIRECTV and “expect to have a deal in place soon.”

Update #1: Cox’s corporate office issued a statement today at 9 am:

“It isn’t exactly a Happy New Year for AT&T U-Verse and DIRECTV subscribers in CMG’s markets. We are as confused as our viewers about why AT&T/DIRECTV has decided to remove our stations from their video service when CMG has for weeks now been offering AT&T/DIRECTV a fair deal to continue carrying our stations.

“Negotiations continue, and we expect this disruption to be brief considering that every other pay-TV provider has come to reasonable terms with CMG. We have made ourselves available twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week to get this deal done.”

Hearst stations also published online alerts of the blackout, but they added that they blamed DIRECTV for the “inconvenience.” The Hearst stations did not express any hope a deal would be reached soon.

In related news last night, NBC and Charter announced an unspecified time extension in their carriage negotiations. The current pact was scheduled to end at midnight but the extension will allow the channels to remain in Charter’s lineup while talks continue.

Channels that could be impacted by a blackout include the local NBC stations in Dallas, Los Angeles and New York as well as NBC-owned cable networks such as Bravo, CNBC, E!, and Syfy, among others.

Dish, which on Thursday lost the Bonneville-owned NBC affiliate in Salt Lake City due to a fee fight, last night lost two CBS affiliates, in Tulsa and Oklahoma City, due to a separate fee fight with Griffin Communications.

By federal law, a TV provider can not carry a channel without its consent.

— Phillip Swann

About TV Answer Man (704 Articles)
The TV Answer Man is veteran journalist Phillip Swann who has covered the TV technology scene for more than two decades. He will report on the latest news and answer your questions regarding new devices and services that are changing the way you watch television.

26 Comments on DIRECTV Loses 48 Stations In 2 Fee Fights – UPDATE #3

  1. FIX THIS PROBLEM YOU MAKE MOORE THAN ENOUGH MONEY FROM US THAT WE SHOULD NOT BE WITHOUT STATION WE HAVE WATCHED FOR YEARS IS ANY THING EVER GOING TO BE THE SAME YOU PAY FOR A SERVICE AND DIRECTV DOES WHAT IT WANTS

  2. You are breaking our agreement, NBC, channel 5 is my most watch channel, it was part of my agreement with you, fix it now or I will find different provider, take money of my bill this is horrible I can’t see my favorite shows,

  3. i am leaving directv and going to dish due to this issue

  4. Phil Blankenship // January 1, 2017 at 3:26 pm // Reply

    I’ve been a customer for 16 years and pay close to $200 a month and have taken every increase without complaint…you have crossed the line of greed for me.. If this is not fixed within a day or two I am out. I’ll find another service probably cheaper with all the stations I need to watch. Need not Greed for 2017.

  5. darlene pickering // January 1, 2017 at 3:26 pm // Reply

    have had direct tv for years local channels are our most watched do not have nbc channel 5 I will switch to another provider I am not getting what paid for.

  6. I have contract with Direct TV……if they can not provide me with what I signed up for….Then their contract with me should be null and VOID////////////////////////I want my wxII

  7. I agree with the comments I’ve read. It is terrible service to use your paying customers as pawns. When we first got Directv many years ago, it was the only service available. It’s not now and we are paying too much for this type service.

  8. Dish network here we come.
    NEED FOR GREED!!!!!

  9. leaving direct tv ASAP if channels are not fixed or if fee increase is required, already paying too much for too little

  10. Its sad loosing 5 news just got you need to lower our bill for that

  11. james pistella // January 1, 2017 at 6:49 pm // Reply

    if problem not resolved soon . will be looking for a new provider

  12. “By federal law, a TV provider can not carry a channel without its consent.” What’s the federal law section?

  13. What is with this!! Money & Greed! We pay way more than we should and deserve these so called free TV!! They always were free when I was growing up, now we pay astronomical amounts of money for TV!!! WTF. I want the local stations back now, no excuses for greed!!

  14. I’m not sure why most of you have a reflexive reaction against Directv in this matter. The owners of the local affiliates are apparently asking Directv for more than they previously have in order to allow Directv to provide these channels to you.

    Directv’s position is that the amount being asked is too high when the stations freely air the content over the air to you. In other words, with an antenna, unless you are out of range of the station’s reach, you can freely receive and access these stations. They are asking Directv to pay a fee per subscriber, for this access.

    Understanding that Directv is already passing this cost along to you in the form of a $5-10 monthly charge for “Locals Access”, it could be that the content owners are asking more than this per subscriber cost will cover, which would force Directv to increase this fee to cover the cost.

    Again, this is something you are paying these stations for, with Directv serving as the middleman, for something you can likely get for FREE with a simple antenna.

    There are two sides to every story. The reaction here appears to be one sided. Just saying.

  15. Brandon, can’t allow the profanity. Take the b— and f— words out and I’ll post. Thanks…swanni

  16. Scott it almost sound like you work for Directv. We are a paying customer of Directv not those local companies. We do not care about their relationship with those companies. Its not like we all haven’t seen price increases over the years. Besides if we don’t pay our bill they will cancel our service. So I don’t think we should feel sorrow that the networks are doing to Directv what they do to us. JUST SAYING!!!!!

  17. Directv has the option of providing temporary access to WNBC on channel 392 until the dispute with Hearst is resolved. Unfortunately, they refused that request when I called them last evening. Both the first customer service rep and her supervisor told me the same thing. They said that providing access to 392 would require a 30-45 day waiver process. I asked them to begin the waiver process because they could not provide any estimate of how long the negotiations would take. They said that they could not begin the waiver process because I had access to NBC channels 5 and 31. I said,”But I don’t have access! That is why I called.” They claimed that even though the channels are blocked, I still have access. Grrrrr!
    I asked them if there are legal restrictions that prevent them from providing immediate access to 392, and they both said no. I asked the supervisor if the waiver process is similar to the waiver process for local channels that I had to go through when I first became a Directv subscriber 18 years ago. She said she did not know, but the current restriction is not based on laws. I think she is probably incorrect, and that there are FCC regulations that require the waiver process.
    To Scott Blanchard… We should not have to purchase and install an antenna and an HDTV receiver for each TV set in our homes, when our contracts with Directv include their provision of local channels.

    • I understand the frustration. Just a few weeks ago I dropped directv after 14 years. Decided to go with Playstation Vue on my Apple TV. Could not be happier. 1/3 of the cost of Directv satellite. I get all the channels I watched on Directv with a DVR, Plus HBO and Showtime, all inclusive for $55 bucks a month – no hidden fees, no equipment fees, no HD access fee, no protection plan fee. Direct was charging me $140 (didn’t even include HBO or Showtime).

      So, I’m no fan of Directv.

      Now I have to use an antenna to get my local channels. Picture quality is actually much better than compressed satellite feed. And I’ll never have to deal with this annual tango between the local network affiliates and the Distributors (its not just Directv, Charter, Comcast, and all have to deal with this).

    • Scott, do you know if Directv can charge an early termination fee if a customer wants to cancel their contract with them due to this issue?

  18. Looking at changing TV service. I agree with others that we should be given access to channel 392 until the dispute is settled. Many of my favorite shows are on NBC. Not happy with Hearst stations, NBC & Cox Media blackmailing Directv. It does look like a lot of greed. There should be a fair negotiation worked out with the consumer paying the price. Maybe its time to stop watching NBC.
    Way to start 2017
    JP

  19. The girl I talked to at Directv acted like she had no clue what I was talking about and questioned if I needed to talk to technical dept. I explained it was a contract dispute not technical. Then she said we don’t know when you will get your local channels but I see some channels you are not getting you may be interested in. WTF I don’t want additional channels I only want the one you took away which is local. They are breaking their contract with me to provide local channels and I feel I should be able to break my contract with them.

  20. Annette Handy // January 3, 2017 at 7:13 am // Reply

    With the amount of money that both of these services make I just cannot understand why they cannot work out a deal. They let the consumer do without what I was told was part of my package. I want my NBC back down

  21. This is ridiculous, I want NBC back. Seriously considering cable. Local channels are free over air.
    Stop being so flipping greedy. I am a 20 yr customer.

  22. At minimum, Direct should give you a credit for your “Locals Access” fee for January (or for the duration of the dispute). I know that doesn’t help much but they should do it since you are paying for the access you are not receiving.

    Jumping to cable is not a solution if you want to avoid being in the same boat on a different canal. They have to negotiate carriage fees with your local network affiliates just like Directv does.

    Ultimately, my decision was that Directv satellite was way overpriced (and out of step with where technology is) compared to current market alternatives, so I dropped my service (after 14 years with them).

    I opted for a $55 streaming package from Sony (PS Vue) that I receive on my Apple TV. I also put an HDTV antenna where my Dish used to be (re-used the dish mount for my antenna mast). Since my antenna looks nearly identical to the dish it replaced, no one could tell from the road that anything changed (AntennaCraft HDX1000 is the HDTV antenna than looks like a satellite dish if anyone’s interested).

    To time shift my local networks and watch “day after live” shows on my schedule, I’ve installed the Hulu app on my Apple TV and I subscribed to the “No Commercials” package. It’s even better than DVR because I never have to pick up the remote when I’m watching a show, since there are no commercials to fast forward through. Basically Hulu is Netflix for network TV programming and binging.

    I also have Netflix, so my total bill for all of this is $77 which is $60 less than I was paying Directv.

    PS Vue $55 (Includes over 100 channels plus HBO and Showtime)
    Hulu $12
    Netflix $10

  23. IMO I think since Hearst gets most of their revenue from advertising asking for more money for the contract seems unreasonable. Good thing you can watch shows on ABC go for free. Since Hearst wants customers to complain to directv, I would rather find out who the local channel advertisers are complain to them.

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