If you have DIRECTV or AT&T TV NOW you may soon lose your local stations. Originally the networks would have gone dark New Years Day but a short term deal was reached to keep the networks on AT&T’s TV services. Now though that deal comes to an end this afternoon. Hearst owns 34 local TV stations and they have until later today to reach a new deal or an extension before their networks will be pulled from AT&T’s TV services.
Update: AT&T and Hearst have agreed to a few more hours of talks in an effort to reach a deal to avoid a blackout.
Here is a statement from AT&T about the possible blackout:
We’re disappointed to see Hearst Television put our customers into the middle of what ought to remain a private business matter. We want to keep Hearst’s local stations in our customers’ lineups but must have Hearst’s permission. We remain on the side of consumer choice and value, whereas Hearst is known to often withhold its stations to try to increase its fees for free broadcast TV. Consumers deserve more choice over which channels they want to pay for – especially ones they can choose to get free – and the freedom to decide where, when and on what device they can watch any favorite programs. We hope to avoid a suspension of any Hearst stations and appreciate our customers’ patience while we work to settle this matter privately.
Here is a statement from Hearst posted on their websites about the possible blackout:
Hearst has a long history of successfully concluding carriage agreements with cable companies and other satellite distributors with no disruption of service to subscribers. While we hope to conclude our negotiations before December 31st, so as not to deprive any of our respective viewers and customers of our programming, we want to advise our viewers and customers that the possibility of non-renewal of our current agreement exists.
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