See update: DIRECTV Loses All 18 Stations
Fee Fight! DIRECTV Could Lose 18 Local Stations Today
By Phillip Swann
Washington, D.C. (January 10, 2017) - DIRECTV today could lose 18 local TV stations in seven states due to a fee fight with their owner, News-Press & Gazette.
Update: NewsPressNow.com, which is owned by News-Press & Gazette, reported Wednesday night that the companies have agreed to a second 24-hour extension; stations remain in DIRECTV's lineup while talks continue.
News-Press & Gazette has posted a notice at its company web site alerting DIRECTV viewers that it's involved in new carriage negotiations with the satcaster and that they could lose their signals if a new deal is not reached. The notice does say the company is "hopeful" of reaching an agreement to prevent any channel blackouts.
While the notice does not mention a deadline, The Desert Sun quotes the general manager of one station, KESQ-TV, as saying the deadline is 6 p.m. ET today.
DIRECTVPromise.com, the satcaster's web site for carriage disputes, has also posted a statement regarding the dispute and it's arguably less hopeful than the News-Press & Gazette notice.
"We want to keep (the stations) in your lineup, but the owner, News-Press & Gazette, is threatening to block (them) from reaching your home unless they receive a significant increase in fees," the DIRECTV statement reads.
The stations affected in this dispute are located in such mid-sized markets as Palm Springs, California; Bend, Oregon, Idaho Falls, Idaho; Colorado Springs, Colorado; El Paso, Texas; Santa Barbara, California; Columbia, Missouri and Yuma, Arizona. To see a complete list of the stations that could be affected, click here.
While the News-Press & Gazette web notice lists 18 local stations in the dispute, some of the stations operate other network affiliates in their market. For example, KESQ-TV is also the operating station for KDFX, the Fox affiliate in Palm Springs. So the actual number of network signals (rather than individual stations) affected in the dispute would be more than 18.
DIRECTV now must settle this fee fight after just closing over the weekend on a new pact with Hearst that left 33 local stations off its lineup for six days while the companies negotiated.
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