DIRECTV on Thursday slammed Tegna for denying a request to restore the blacked out local stations to government and military facilities while the negotiations continue.
“We privately sought TEGNA’s permission to restore its signals exclusively to military and federal institutions while we continue to negotiate a new agreement, which would’ve allowed DIRECTV to once again deliver the news, entertainment and sports including Saturday’s Army-Navy game from TEGNA’s stations,” said a company spokesman. “Unfortunately, TEGNA, a U.S. government-licensed broadcaster whose own mission statement is to ‘serve the greater good of our communities’, intentionally deprived our U.S. servicemen and women and other government workers by weaponizing this blackout to extract rate increases for programming that TEGNA itself promotes as available for free over-the-air or on direct-to-consumer services.”
The comment is a response to Tegna’s own claim earlier in the day that DIRECTV wasn’t “seriously negotiating,” and derided the move to restore military and government feeds as a “stunt” to help drag out the talks.
Among the stations that are blacked out is WUSA-CBS, which serves the Washington, D.C., area. The San Diego market is another one that’s blacked out In total, Tegna owns 64 local affiliates of ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC covering 51 markets, which all have been dark for DIRECTV, DIRECTV STREAM and U-Verse customers since last Thursday. At the time, DIRECTV Chief Content Officer Rob Thun told Cord Cutters News the two companies were “extremely far apart.”
Tegna said it wants to come to a deal, but blames DIRECTV for dragging its feet.
“Tegna is concerned for all our viewers,” said a company spokeswoman. “That is why we submitted our first proposal to DIRECTV back in September – to provide ample time to reach a fair agreement. It is unfortunate that DIRECTV chose to not engage with us seriously throughout that time, and waited until nearly a week after our contract expired to reply to our last offer.”
That final offer came moments before the 8 p.m. ET deadline last Thursday.