Tegna Stations Pulled From DirecTV—Here’s Why

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Topline

DirecTV customers lost access to local NBC, ABC, CBS or Fox TV outlets in dozens of cities over a fee dispute between DirecTV and broadcast company Tegna, —the latest corporate battle that has resulted in viewers losing TV channels.

Key Facts

Tegna cut off its channels to DirecTV subscribers Thursday, which includes 64 stations in 51 markets serving approximately 40% of DirecTV’s customers, Bloomberg reported.

The two companies are feuding over carriage fees DirecTV pays to Tegna to have its channels on DirecTV, according to Bloomberg.

Viewers could lose the NFL’s Sunday football games, college football conference championships and other sports programming as a result, in addition to local news broadcasts and popular TV shows.

DirecTV said it would advise viewers to use antennas and streaming to get access to these local broadcasts if the blackout continues, particularly major out-of-home corporate consumers such as Buffalo Wild Wings, which it is providing with antennas, according to Deadline.

Big Number

Around 5 million. That’s how many DirecTV customers are being impacted, according to Deadline.

Chief Critics

In a statement to multiple news organizations, Tegna said: “Despite months of effort, DirecTV has refused to reach a fair, market-based agreement with Tegna,” adding that the company “urge(s) DirecTV to continue to negotiate with us until a deal is reached that restores our stations to their customers.” Rob Thun, chief content officer of DirecTV, told Deadline that fee increases are going to result in higher costs for the consumer which will “drive more people out the door because price is what’s driving everyone out of pay-TV.”

News Peg

This is the latest in a series of disputes between broadcasters and TV providers. In September, Disney and Charter had a similar disagreement that led to blackouts of Disney-owned channels such as ABC, ESPN and FX for over a week, Bloomberg reported. Broadcast companies reportedly say they need higher fees to pay for programming like local news and weather forecasts while TV providers contend rate hikes exceed inflation and cost the consumer. DirecTV claimed in a recent press release that Tegna “is demanding double-digit annual rate increases that would make it the most expensive broadcaster nationwide.”

Key Background

Parent company AT&T spun off DirecTV into a privately held company in 2021, according to Deadline. Private equity firm TPG owns a 30% stake. DirecTV has almost 12 million estimated subscribers across its traditional satellite business, its internet-delivered DirecTV stream and the AT&T U-Verse cable system, according to Deadline.

Tangent

Many Tegna stations are also available through streaming services like Paramount+ and Peacock, according to Deadline, giving viewers another avenue to watch programming.

Further Reading

DirecTV Viewers Lose Local Stations Across US Over Fee Dispute (Bloomberg)

Tegna Stations, Including Many CBS And NBC Affiliates, Go Dark On DirecTV In Carriage Dispute (Deadline)

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