The deadline for DIRECTV and Cox Media to reach a new retransmission agreement is drawing near, but the two cable TV providers appear to be at odds.
Following a heated press release on Thursday from Cox, a DIRECTV spokesperson said the company is working with Cox to reach a new deal that will “align the value and quality customers receive with the price they pay.”
“Our request to Cox Media Group is simple, don’t force your viewers who are our customers, to pay an unwarranted rate increase for ‘free’ news, sports and entertainment that is widely available on local station websites, through an over-the-air digital antenna and direct-to-consumer streaming platforms,” a DIRECTV spokesperson said in a statement to Cord Cutters News, seemingly throwing Cox’s Executive Vice President Marian Pittman’s words back.
The rising tensions leave cable TV customers facing the possibility of another dispute that could result in the loss of local ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC networks on DIRECTV, DIRECTV STREAM, and U-verse TV. This comes after DIRECTV just came to an agreement with another broadcaster, Tegna, to bring back its network affiliates to its service.
In November, DIRECTV released a proposal to let broadcasters set their own rates so that they could charge DIRECTV subscribers directly in an a la carte fashion. DIRECTV made this offer to both Tegna and Cox. Tegna rejected the offer and criticized it as another fee for DIRECTV customers, and it’s unlikely that Cox would accept the deal.
This comes as cable TV blackouts are becoming increasingly common as cord cutting hits the cable industry. Since 2020, there have been 83 blackouts between content providers like DIRECTV and Nexstar, Spectrum and Disney, and DIRECTV and Tegna.
These disputes also come as the value of broadcasters and network affiliates starts to shift with companies increasingly offering live sports and programs directly to consumers through streaming services. According to DIRECTV, this dilutes the exclusive value that station affiliates used to possess.
For example, the Super Bowl, one of TV’s biggest events, will be available for fans to watch on multiple platforms like CBS Sports, Nickelodeon, TelevisaUnivision, and Paramount+ as well as with an over-the-air antenna.
Other events like the NHL All-Star Game and the Grammys will also be streaming on various platforms.
If Cox pulls its signals, DIRECTV said it will provide its customers with information on how to watch their desired content and possibly provide bill credits.
It remains to be seen if DIRECTV and Cox will reach a new deal by the time its current contract expires, but for now, talks appear bleak.