TV Answer Man, is there anything new with DIRECTV and Mission? We have been without our Fox station here for several months now? Are they even talking? Do we know if they are close Is it time to switch to another TV provider? — Marlene, Providence.
Marlene, DIRECTV on October 21 lost a few dozen 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.
The satellite TV service is involved in a separate carriage dispute with White Knight Broadcasting, which pulled three stations in Texas and Louisiana off DIRECTV in early October when the companies could not reach a new pact. (The three stations are also operated by Nexstar.)
Since the fee fights began, there have been occasional statements from each party blaming the other for the blackouts. The Mission and White Knight station web sites continue to post alerts at their web sites saying that DIRECTV subscribers can’t watch them while the satcaster has a similar notice at its DIRECTV Promise web site.
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However, we don’t know if the companies are close to an agreement, or even if they are talking. DIRECTV and the two broadcasters do not publicize anything regarding their negotiations, which is standard operating procedure in these disputes.
This is particularly frustrating for DIRECTV subscribers in the affected markets. They can’t make an informed decision on whether to cancel DIRECTV (if that’s their inclination) because they don’t have any indication the blackout will end today or six months from today.
The only thing I can say is that the disputes have now lasted longer than two months, which is somewhat unusual for a local channel fight. This would suggest they could go significantly longer. There’s something going on here that is preventing the companies from finding common ground. The fact that Nexstar manages all stations involved could be a factor. Nexstar has proven to be a tough negotiator in carriage fights.
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The TV Answer Man will continue to monitor these battles and report back here if anything changes. Until then, happy viewing and stay safe!
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I think we all have to look at streaming services that require only 30 day contracts. This allows us to change carriers as disputes arise and therefore impact Nexstar. They cut service with a provider we move. This affects those of us that are too rural to receive signal by any other means than Sat now, we will all eventually have access to internet. This is the beginning of the end of the Sat industry. I am leaving it behind. When we all do the market place will go back to simple economics; supply and demand. Nexstar will eventually reap what they have sewn. Goes round comes round, their day is coming.
DirectTV did not take any local channels away. The owners of said local channels did. Time for a new contract! We want more money please! Don’t want to pay the increase, then no channels for you. It is that simple. For local channel owners $12 billion+ a year in re-trans fees is not enough. They want to continue to get paid by Cable/Sat/Streamers who re-transmit free OTA (Over The Air) channels in order to cover the reduced revenue from selling commercials (less people watching). Moving to another provider may help, for a while, but they’ll get caught in the same ransom ploy that DTV has sooner or later. How do we stop this? Change the FTC law that gave the locals their pot of continuous gold (get paid for something that is free with an antenna). Hell has to freeze over because $12 billion is a large pot. How much can we get for a bucket of air?
Addendum to previous post: If you are just interested in local weather and local news, then you don’t need a cable or satellite subscription. Thanks to FAST (Free Ad Supported TV) and AVOD (Ad-Supported Video On Demand) you can get thousands of free channels (they pay for everything with ads) using a Roku, Fire TV, Android TV box or various TV sets with said platforms built-in. For example, on a Roku TV you can get Pluto TV, Xumo Play, LocalNow, Haystack, NewsOn, Plex, FreeVee, Tubi and several others that will offer you free local feeds for news and weather from various parts of the USA. CBS and NBC also offer local news feeds from various markets as well. The beautiful thing is they are all free. No subscription required. No feeding the local channel $12 billion re-trans pot.
I’m in a rural area so satellite is my only option. I am unable to receive over the air broadcasts with an antenna, and all satellite internet companies limit data usage per billing period so streaming tv is not an option. Once I reach my data limit my speed goes below the threshold I would need to stream. The sad part is, up until a few decades ago this area had over the air broadcasts. There is no cable along my road so everyone out here is satellite or bust. 200-dollar a month tv bill and I can’t even watch a nationally televised football game. I just want to know whose fault this is before I cancel DirectTV. I’m not ready for the 1800s. Yet.
Greed is the engine of Corporate Capitalism in America. Your local channels are free but, thanks to a telecommunications act that is outdated and anti-consumer the owners of said local channels can charge a fee to view said channels on cable, satellite and streaming services. The fees were small, at first, but now account for 40% of revenue for some large local channel owners. Each time they try to raise their fees and the provider disagrees, you lose access to your local channels because your provider cannot legally broadcast them without a signed contract. When both parties agree to an increase, your bill goes up. With the fees reaching the high water mark of $13 billion, you’ll be hard pressed to get the FCC and our Federal government to eliminate said fees altogether. Hopefully the new infrastructure bill will provide better and cheaper internet service for rural communities. For now, look for alternatives like 5G internet and/or StarLink. Also take your local municipalities to task as to how they are going to address basic internet service in your area. All the best!
They both SUCK!!!!!!!
As satellite and cellular based improve in rural areas, companies like Mission Broadcasting and DirecTV will become obsolete. The question will become how much we will be willing to pay for access to the premium and sports channels. I personally believe that within 10 years or less, regular local TV stations will be a thing of the past.
Does anyone know the number of customers affected by this? If I was an advertiser paying for commercial time I would not be happy to hear literally thousands of households are no longer potential customers due to the lock out, and would consider different uses for my advertising dollars.The next big sports block to be affected is the super bowl and the upcoming nascar series.If not resolved by then, its time to spend my money elsewhere.