Earlier this week DIRECTV, U-Verse, and DIRECTV STREAM subscribers lost Tegna-owned ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC affiliates. Tegna says DIRECTV rejected its fair offer. DIRECTV says Tegna wouldn’t agree with their offer to make locals à la carte channels not part of the base package. Consequently, Tegna removed locals from DIRECTV, U-Verse, and DIRECTV STREAM.
In total, 64 Tegna-owned local TV stations are now dark on DIRECTV, DIRECTV STREAM, and U-Verse, including TV stations in 51 U.S. markets.
It’s unclear how long the blackout will last, but Rob Thun, chief content officer for DIRECTV, told Cord Cutters News that the two sides were “extremely far apart.”
In the face of rising distribution costs, DIRECTV offered something new: a proposal to offer local stations à la carte, and to let Tegna set whatever price it wanted. Rather than bundle local channels in its packages, DIRECTV would let its subscribers decide if they want to pay for the local stations, the company said.
“We’re committed to reaching an agreement that continues to ensure all of DIRECTV’s subscribers in our communities have access to the local and national news, sports and entertainment our stations offer, while providing our stations with the fair compensation they need to continue their significant investments in the content viewers value,” Tegna said in a statement. “In contrast, DIRECTV’s proposal to instead require its customers to pay yet another standalone fee for our local stations—unlike all other broadcast stations—disserves subscribers and is not productive.”
“Despite months of effort, DIRECTV has refused to reach a fair, market-based agreement with TEGNA,” the company said. “As a result, DIRECTV and AT&T U-Verse customers will lose access to NFL and college football conference championship games, as well as some of the most popular national network programming and top-rated local news. We urge DIRECTV to continue to negotiate with us until a deal is reached that restores our stations to their customers.”
With all this happening, it is clear that both sides are far from reaching a deal. These talks have become a deeply heated fight, with both sides not holding back in court or in public about it. However, anything could happen, and a deal could be reached at any time. We’ll have to wait and see.