AT&T is trying to soften the blackout of 25 Cox Media-managed local channels on DIRECTV, AT&T TV and U-verse by noting that viewers of the five CBS affiliates affected can still watch this Sunday’s Super Bowl.
The carriage dispute, which began last Tuesday morning, includes KIRO-TV, the CBS affiliate in Seattle, KVIQ-TV, the CBS affiliate in Eureka, California, KYMA-TV, the CBS affiliate in Yuma, Arizona, WXVT-TV, the CBS affiliate in Greenwood, Mississippi, and WHIO-TV, the CBS affiliate in Dayton, Ohio.
Subscriber anger over the blackout has escalated this week, but particularly in those five markets because CBS will broadcast Super Bowl 55 this Sunday. If a settlement does not occur prior to the game, AT&T’s TV subscribers will not be able to watch the game via their paid-for services.
However, AT&T issued a statement last night saying there are several ways that affected customers can still watch the Super Bowl. In Seattle, Locast, the streaming app, offers local channels, including CBS, for free. DIRECTV subscribers who have their Genie set-tops connected to the Internet can access the Locast app in their Menu, but it’s also available on streaming devices such as Roku.
In addition, viewers in all five markets can stream the game for free on the CBS Sports apps and the NFL app, or watch it ‘over-the-air’ on a TV antenna. CBS will also televise the Super Bowl in Spanish on the ESPN Deportes channel, which is available in DIRECTV and U-verse homes on channels 466 and 3313/3113 respectively.
AT&T’s press release does not mention it, but the CBS All Access streaming service, which costs $5.99 a month, will also show the game.
While it’s true there will be alternatives to watch Super Bowl 55, they may not all be viable ones for some AT&T subscribers. Many DIRECTV subscribers, for instance, live in rural areas where Internet access, and consequently, streaming, is limited or unavailable. That would rule out Locast and the CBS and NFL apps. Antennas are also an uncertain option due to a variety of reasons, including location.
Here is the list of Cox Media stations that are now blacked out on DIRECTV, U-verse and AT&T TV:
KFFX-TV (Fox, Yakima, Washington)
KYMA-TV (CBS, NBC, Yuma, Arizona)
KIEM-TV, KVIQ-TV (NBC, CBS, Eureka, California)
WSYT-TV (Fox, Syracuse, New York)
KLAX-TV (ABC, Alexandria, Louisiana)
WABG-TV, WXVT-TV (ABC, CBS, Fox, Greenwood, Mississippi)
WICZ-TV (Fox, Binghamton, New York)
KMVU-TV (Fox, Medford, Oregon)
KAYU-TV (Fox, Spokane, Washington)
WSB-TV, Channel 2 (ABC, Atlanta, GA)
WFXT-TV, Channel 25 (FOX, Boston, MA)
WSOC-TV, Channel 9 (ABC, Charlotte, NC)
WAXN-TV, Channel 64 (IND, Charlotte, NC)
WHIO-TV, Channel 7 (CBS, Dayton, OH)
WFOX-TV, Channel 30 (FOX, Jacksonville, FL)
WFOX2-TV, Channel 32 (MNT, Jacksonville, FL)
WHBQ-TV, Channel 13 (FOX, Memphis, TN)
WFTV-TV, Channel 9 (ABC, Orlando, FL)
WRDQ-TV, Channel 27 (IND, Orlando, FL)
WPXI-TV, Channel 11 (NBC, Pittsburgh, PA)
KIRO-TV, Channel 7 (CBS, Seattle, WA)
KOKI-TV, Channel 23 (FOX, Tulsa, OK)
KMYT-TV, Channel 41 (MNT, Tulsa, OK)
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— Phillip Swann