TV Answer Man, you have covered these transmission disputes for some time. Any guesses for when the DIRECTV-Mission dispute will end? We have missed our Fox station here in Providence and particularly missing the World Series!! — Joyce, Providence. 

Joyce, on October 21, DIRECTV lost 25 local TV stations due to a carriage dispute with their owner, Mission Broadcasting. (The blackout also affects DIRECTV Stream and U-verse.) The stations, which are managed by Nexstar, are in 25 markets including New York. Providence, Rhode Island, Little Rock, Albuquerque, Abilene, Texas, Albany, New York and Erie, Pennsylvania, among others. You can see a complete list here.

Since the fee fight began, the tensions between the companies have spilled out in public with DIRECTV saying Mission has violated ‘the public interest’ by refusing to return the signals before the mid-term Congressional elections while negotiations continued.

Mission fired back that the election request was a ploy to win public favor and charged that DIRECTV and its owners, AT&T and private equity firm, TPG, was trying to “bully” a small broadcaster.

The statements would appear to reflect that the talks are not going well and both sides are trying to win viewer support for their positions. With DIRECTV viewers losing World Series games in 12 Fox markets, and NFL games in more markets than that, there are definitely some angry subscribers out there looking to blame someone if not everyone.

However, despite the obvious bitterness between the two companies, I think you’ll see a settlement within the next 10 days. This fee fight is clearly hurting both DIRECTV and Mission and it’s in their best interest to find common ground sooner than later. DIRECTV needs to appease angry customers while Mission needs to get their viewers back in their ratings numbers.

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It’s relatively rare for a local network affiliate dispute to last more than a few weeks and this one has already gone 12 days. It would not surprise me to see it end any day, but it might take until next weekend due to the frictions as noted earlier.

Joyce, hope that makes sense. Happy viewing and stay safe!

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— Phillip Swann