DirecTV Customers Lose CBS, NBC Affiliates in Failed Tegna Carriage Negotiations

The local broadcast station blames the cable provider for failing to “reach a fair, market-based agreement” despite “months of effort”

Miami Hurricanes play against the Louisville Cardinals on Nov. 18, 2023
Miami Hurricanes play against the Louisville Cardinals on Nov. 18, 2023 (Credit: Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

Dozens of local news stations owned by Tegna went dark on DirecTV Thursday night, the result of an ongoing carriage battle between the two services. The duo failed to negotiate a new agreement by 5 p.m. PT, which immediately left five million subscribers across the United States without service.

In a statement to TheWrap, Tegna explained, “Despite months of effort, DirecTV has refused to reach a fair, market-based agreement with Tegna. As a result, DirecTV and AT&T U-Verse customers will lose access to NFL and college football conference championship games, as well as some of the most popular national network programming and top-rated local news.”

“We urge DirecTV to continue to negotiate with us until a deal is reached that restores our stations to their customers,” the statement continued.

DirecTV reaches almost 12 million subscribers through a combination of traditional satellite television, the company’s DirecTV stream and its U-Verse cable systems. Roughly 40% of the total customer base has been impacted.

Rob Thun, chief content officer of DirecTV, responded to the blackout and said, “It’s disappointing, but certainly not surprising, that Tegna is just the latest to perpetuate what’s become the status quo for American broadcasters by using its territorial exclusivities and blackouts to extort ever-increasing rates for programming that remains free over-the-air.”

“We just can’t do this anymore — these price increases are unsustainable for the average consumer. It’s a badly broken model that erodes trust, eliminates choice and keeps delving deeper into the wallets of our already overtaxed customers,” he added.

Negotiations between the two companies appear to have been stalled by Tegna’s demand of double-digit annual rate increases that would mean customers would pay a premium for Tegna stations. The agreement would have exceeded hundreds of other such agreements DirecTV has with local stations.

The rates demanded by Tegna are higher than what DirecTV is paying to any other provider. DirecTV suggested that customers could have the opportunity to subscribe to Tegna to help meet the rates requested, which would have resulted in a first-of-its-kind model that would give customers the ability to buy into stations they enjoy.

Comments

One response to “DirecTV Customers Lose CBS, NBC Affiliates in Failed Tegna Carriage Negotiations”

  1. Dorenda Avatar
    Dorenda

    Why should customers suffer because Tegna overpays their upper level staff?
    They are requesting double pay for the stations they own. They want to be the highest paid company for all over 50  locations they own. If they are already “trying “ to negotiate for all of the different TV, Satellite, or all other afflicted stations, maybe they need to recalculate the pay the dish out to Upper level positions. 
    Average viewers don’t stand much of a chance with paying their utilities. I understand a price change does happen, but how much do all of these companies think regular customers can afford. We are all trying to survive in this world. How are we to know what’s even happening when there is nothing to watch? 
    Blackout on stations hurt customers because no one can see what’s going on. If there are emergencies of one kind or another, we will not know about it. 
    Is all of this because someone wants to be paid approximately [1] $50 million a year more than they are already being paid? If they lay off staff, do they start at the bottom instead of the top?  
    I’m just wondering what goes through the minds of these folks. Is it greed? Accounting problems? Actual increase in their payouts?  
    I just get tired of all the folks in the world being selfish and thinking that they need to only look out for themselves. I do believe in helping your neighbors, putting someone else before yourself. 
    I was taught to believe in God. Read the Bible. Put our faith first before our actions or our mouths.  This world is so screwed up because of our actions. Now we are paying the ultimate price for it,  no matter what else we do.  

    [1]All of the figures I mentioned are just guesstamations, not actual. 

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