Back in February, we predicted that 2023 would see blackouts become more common. Now in September, we have seen this prediction become a reality as Comcast, DIRECTV, DISH, and Spectrum all have active blackouts affecting some ABC, CBS, FOX, & NBC locals.
Right now, DIRECTV has a blackout happening with Nexstar-owned and operated ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC locals. This includes locals owned by Mission and White Knight. In total, 159 Nexstar-owned local TV stations are now dark on DIRECTV, DIRECTV STREAM, and U-Verse. NewsNation and The CW have also gone dark on DIRECTV.
DISH has locals owned by Mission, White Knight, Cox Media, and most recently, Hearst locals have gone dark.
Comcast also saw some local FOX affiliates that are owned by Imagicomm Communications go dark just last week.
Lastly, the biggest fight right now is seeing Disney-owned ABC locals go dark on Spectrum along with other networks like FX and ESPN.
This all comes as locals and other channels have demanded an increase in what they get for their locals. Cable TV operatories and satellite operators have pushed back, saying the market can not support these high prices. If they agree to pay them DIRECTV, Spectrum, and others, say it will result in more customers canceling their services.
Now we have a tough fight brewing. Locals are losing money because of cord cutting. Cable TV companies are seeing people cancel because of the high cost. Now, locals want to make up the losses by charging more money. Something cable TV companies are unwilling to do.
So the question now is who will blink first. Will locals agree to more favorable contracts with companies like DIRECTV and DISH, or will these companies agree to raise their prices?
What we do know is right now more locals are dark on cable TV companies than is typical. One more sign of how the cable TV model is changing.