Some Fox, ABC And WSB Network Affiliates Outraged As AT&T/DirecTV Remove Them From Channel Lineup

Satellite TV provider DirecTV is in contract disputes with several local affiliates that has paying subscribers caught in the crossfire. Existing agreements to carry local TV stations in some areas expired in the wee hours of morning after ringing in 2017, and without new agreements or contract extensions in place, the AT&T-owned service flipped the switch on some local channels.

DirecTV

Contract agreements between television stations and service providers happen all the time. Usually these take place entirely behind the scenes without the customer ever knowing it, though when there is a failure on both sides to hammer out a new contract and extend an existing one, the affected stations go dark and the dispute goes public. Naturally, the TV stations point the finger at the service provider, which in this case is DirecTV, while the service provider blames the TV stations.

At present, contract negotiations are affecting customers in at least three regions, including Tulsa, OK, Orlando, FL, and Atlanta, GA.

Blackout Notice
Source: Fox23

Here is a lengthy statement provided by Cathy Gunther, Interim Vice President and General Manger for KOKI-TV and KMYT-TV, local affiliates in Tulsa.
We’re just as disappointed as our viewers that KOKI-TV & KMYT-TV have been dropped from AT&T’s and DirecTV’s video services. It is unfortunate that AT&T/DirecTV, which is one of the world’s biggest companies, has decided to use Tulsa television viewers as pawns in their effort to obtain unreasonable rates for KOKI-TV & KMYT-TV programming. The reality is that we have deals with every single video distributor in the market except AT&T/DirecTV. Those contracts generally were reached without service disruptions and, in most cases, viewers never even knew agreements were being negotiated. We have no idea why AT&T/DirecTV alone is unwilling to accept a reasonable agreement to continue carrying KOKI-TV & KMYT-TV. We understand that AT&T/DirecTV is telling its viewers that KOKI-TV & KMYT-TV chose to have its stations removed from local channel lineups. That is categorically false. For weeks, AT&T/DirecTV has had before it offers from my company to continue carrying KOKI-TV & KMYT-TV. AT&T/DirecTV refuses to accept our reasonable offers – even though every other video provider in Tulsa has done so. Viewers shouldn’t be fooled by AT&T/DirecTV’s corporate talking points. Negotiations for restoring KOKI-TV & KMYT-TV to AT&T/DirecTV are continuing and I certainly hope that this disruption is very brief. AT&T/DirecTV viewers should be aware, however, that KOKI-TV & KMYT-TV’s signal remains available over the air and from every other pay-TV provider in Tulsa. Concerned viewers can visit our website (http://www.fox23.com) for additional information and updates.
While neither side is willing to share financial details about any proposed deals, an ABC affiliate in Orlando said it is asking for less than what ESPN receives, even though the sports network has lower ratings.

"Based on publicly available information, AT&T U-Verse and DirecTV pay over $6 per subscriber per month for ESPN. In other words, $6 from your monthly bill goes straight to ESPN. Our ratings are much higher than ESPN’s! Yet, we are asking for significantly less than what AT&T/DirecTV pays to ESPN. More importantly, ESPN has NO local programming, NO local employees, NO local investments, and a very small local audience – unlike WFTV/WRDQ," Orlando affiliate stated in an FAQ.

There is little that customers in affected areas can do other than wait it out for both sides to inevitably come to an agreement on a new deal. While local affiliates are encouraging subscribers to contact DirecTV and demand that programming be turned back on, the reality is this is something that the bigwigs have to negotiate. And they will, as they always do, just not before inconveniencing the paying customers that allow these channels and services to exist in the first place.

Tags:  DirecTV, ABC, fox, (NYSE:T), at&t, wsb
Via:  Fox
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