The clock is ticking on a possible blackout of 66 local ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC channels on DIRECTV, AT&T TV and DIRECTV STREAM. Tegna, which owns a large network of local stations, began warning viewers this weekend that it may pull its channels from DIRECTV and DIRECTV STREAM on November 30, 2023, if a deal is not reached.
Update: These locals have gone dark on DIRECTV, DIRECTV STREAM, & AT&T U-verse. You can learn more HERE.
The possible blackout represents just the latest in a long line of disputes between a local broadcaster or media company and a large pay-TV provider. DIRECTV itself just resolved a two-month dispute with Nexstar that ended a two-month blackout of 176 local channels. Charter and Disney also had a high-profile dispute over distribution fees that led to a two-week blackout over the summer. The problem has gotten large enough that lawmakers are starting to question if they need to step in to keep programming on the air.
So far, there’s been a lot of posturing, but it’s too soon to say whether a blackout will actually happen.
Here are some statements about the contract fight from DIRECTV and Tegna”
“TEGNA has once again made a private negotiation public in the hopes of creating unnecessary and premature concern among some of our customers to extract higher rates for local broadcast stations. Unfortunately, that’s become the industry norm as the costs for free local stations have soared more than 20 percent year upon year upon year despite declining popularity and less-compelling content. We will continue to meet our customers’ demands for greater choice and value and do our utmost to shield them from unwarranted price hikes as we work with TEGNA to renew its stations without any interruption,” DIRECTV said in a statement to Cord Cutters News.
“We are working hard to reach a fair, market-based agreement with DIRECTV based on the competitive terms we’ve used to reach previous deals with DIRECTV and other major providers. Thus far, DIRECTV has refused to agree to such terms, which is why we have begun informing DIRECTV and AT&T U-Verse customers that they may lose access to their local TEGNA station and our valuable programming. We hope that DIRECTV is willing to negotiate a market-based deal before the November 30 deadline and doesn’t take away DIRECTV and AT&T U-Verse customers’ local news, weather, sports and network programs,” Tegna said in a statement to Cord Cutters News.
Tenga is one of the largest owners of local TV stations in the U.S. If a blackout happens, it would be the second time DIRECTV and a major local TV station owner couldn’t reach a deal in the last few months. A few weeks after DIRECTV reached its deal with Nexstar, the pay TV provider hiked its prices across the board.
The blackout is currently planed for 8 pm Eastern on November 30, 2023 if an agreement can’t be reached. A short-term extension is reportedly a real possibility right now but at the time of this publication, no deal has been reached yet.
Spokespeople for the two sides couldn’t be reached for comment.
Cord Cutters News will have full coverage of the contract fight between DIRECTV and Tegna.
Update: We updated the story to add the deadline time.
Correction: The previous version misstated the number of Tegna channels offered by DIRECTV.