DIRECTV and Dish combined could lose more than 220 local TV stations this week, and subscribers to the two satellite TV services are expressing their deepest frustration in comments posted here and elsewhere on social media.
On Monday night, DIRECTV could lose approximately 60 local TV stations due to a carriage dispute with their owner, Tegna Broadcasting, while Dish could lose 164 local stations due to a separate fee fight with Nexstar Media Group.
Since the two carriage disputes were first publicized here on Thanksgiving, DIRECTV and Dish subscribers have posted more than 60 messages in our Comments sections, all showing exasperation that they could lose their favorite locals. Carriage battles are not uncommon in today’s uncertain pay TV environment as both broadcasters and satellite/cable operators are forced to count every penny. But many of the commenters are particularly outraged that the companies are engaging in these fights now during a second surge of the Coronavirus.
“With the pandemic and people staying home, this latest threat by AT&T and DirecTV to end airing local stations is just adding to the confusion and stress,” writes ‘Bev.’ “There are people who depend on local stations for weather and health updates. Get over yourselves, AT&T/DirecTV. You act like a bunch of spoiled kids. It’s all about the money to you and you make plenty. It’s obvious you care nothing about your customers as proven by your lack of customer service and the fact that you cried foul when the local stations alerted customers of impending actions.”
“At&t has been the worse thing to have happened in buying out DirecTV,” says Judy Nelson. “My monthly bill is horrendous and they keep taking channrls away but no compensation in bill just goes up for less coverage. I have been with company after company that buys out who k have for over 30 years starting with Primestar. I too call for discounts but AT&T is like pulling teeth to appreciate long standing customers. This losing station HAS TO STOP.!!!”
While ‘Bev’ and Judy are blaming the pay TV providers, others are directing their anger at the broadcasters, and sometimes, the federal government.
“So local areas will not have some major networks as TEGNA tries threatening and likely actually taking stations off the air as as a negotiation tool,” says Nelson Meaker. “Consumers lose. Cable will pass the higher costs to consumers, Yes this is an example of action Congress should take, but they are not likely to do it if they can’t even help those that can’t work due to the pandemic from losing homes, evictions for not paying rents or putt food on the table. 1 of 6 Americans is not sure how they will get food to eat but the elected politicians are on vacation, again.”
“I am not usually one to advocate for government interference in private business but the ongoing carriage disputes is getting ridiculous,” writes ‘CMD,’ a Dish subscriber. “The losers are always the consumers. Maybe it’s time for additional regulations and oversights from the federal government. What I would give to have a la carte television programming…a whole buffet of channels where I pick what I want and pay for it accordingly!”
“Thank you Dish for fighting for me!” says ‘Petestones.’ “I will gladly do without any content as you fight these greedy stations. These stations are insulated from us viewers so they think they can just keep increasing the cost to Dish, DTV, etc. I for one thank Dish for being the leader in fighting these stupid greedy rate hikes. All you you whining about this are likely also whining about when your rates increase. Stand behind Dish, or your provider of choice, to finally stop these regular increases and channel bundles.”
But most DIRECTV and Dish subscribers say they just want to keep their channels, regardless of who is at fault.
“Dish network (and) Nexstar. Can’t come to an agreement so we will be the losers how sad. Please try to come
To an agreement for the sake of all of us,” writes Bonnie Spence.
“Direct TV please do what ever is necessary to keep my local ABC & NBC & CBS stations broadcasting out of Sacramento California. It’s just not fair to take away our favorite programs & local news. I feel like you are holding us hostage by threatening to take our favorite programming away,” writes Ruthanne McGee Kohutek.
The TV Answer Man will monitor the two fee fights this week and report back here when new developments occur.
Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your first name and hometown in your message.
— Phillip Swann