DIRECTV tonight lost approximately 60 local TV stations due to a carriage dispute with their owner, Tegna Broadcasting.
“Unfortunately, DIRECTV and AT&T U-Verse have not reached an agreement with TEGNA to keep our stations on the air,” Tegna said in a statement posted on Twitter. “As we continue negotiating in good faith, you can watch your TEGNA station on other local providers or streaming services. And we’re always free over-the-air.”
The stations have also posted notices at their web sites that their signals have been pulled from DIRECTV. (AT&T’s U-verse also lost Tegna stations in the markets it serves; AT&T owns both DIRECTV and U-verse.)
“WUSA is currently not available on DIRECTV,” reads the notice at WUSA-TV’s web site. “That means DIRECTV is taking away your access to your favorite CBS programming, including NFL football, SEC college football, The Amazing Race, NCIS, Seal Team and Young Sheldon as well as your local news, weather and sports. Consider switching to a new video provider or tell DIRECTV to bring back WUSA by calling 1-800-531-5000.”
AT&T has yet to issue a statement on the stalemate. We will update this story when and if it does.
Update: AT&T’s Twitter customer service team tweeted this tonight:
“We have every intention of getting TEGNA’s stations back as soon as possible, but the law grants TEGNA exclusive control over which homes can have their channels. We regret any inconvenience and appreciate your patience.”
Update #2; AT&T’s corporate office last night released this statement:
“In the midst of an ongoing pandemic, Tegna is demanding the largest rate increase we have ever seen and intentionally blacking out its most loyal viewers. We challenge Tegna to return its local stations immediately while we finalize a new agreement and pledge to pay Tegna retroactively whatever higher rates to which we eventually agree. We share our customers’ frustration, appreciate their patience and intend to do all we can to resolve this matter soon.”
The Tegna stations are in such large markets as Washington, D.C., San Diego, Denver, Phoenix, Tampa, New Orleans, Atlanta, Seattle, Houston, St. Louis as well as mid-size areas such as Austin, Texas, San Angelo, Texas, Macon, Georgia, and Jacksonville, Florida, among others. To see a complete list of the Tegna stations, click here.
The companies have not specified why the two sides are quarreling, but money is the usual reason behind a channel blackout. Tegna station subscribers are already voicing their anger on social media sites.
“@TEGNA “@ATT @DIRECTV Shame on you for putting your own greed above your customers. We pay a lot of money each month to watch these stations – you need to resolve it asap. This year has been tough enough,” tweeted @msbroncos.
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— Phillip Swann