Tegna Stations Go Dark in Dispute with DirecTV

By Jon Lafayette 17 hours ago – Reprint from Broadcasting and Cable Tegna Stations Go Dark in Dispute with DirecTV | Broadcasting+Cable (nexttv.com)

Blackout affects stations in 51 markets including WBIR in the Knoxville Market

Tegna said its stations have gone dark in a retransmission consent dispute with AT&T’s DirecTV and U-verse services.

Their original distribution agreement expired at 8 p.m. ET on Nov. 30. But it was extended until Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Tegna has 64 TV stations in 51 markets, reaching 41.7 million TV households covering 39% of the country.  It owns Big 4 affiliates in the top 25 markets. 

“Unfortunately, DirecTV AT&T U-Verse have not come to an agreement with Tegna to keep our stations available on their services. Our company has successfully negotiated multi-year deals with hundreds of cable and satellite providers across the country without disruptions to service,” Tegna said in a statement.

An AT&T spokesperson accused Tegna of taking advantage of viewers during a crisis.

“in the midst of an ongoing pandemic, Tegna is demanding the largest rate increase we have ever seen, and intentionally blacking out its most loyal viewers. We challenge Tegna to return its local stations immediately while we finalize a new agreement and pledge to pay Tegna retroactively whatever higher rates to which we eventually agree. We share our customers’ frustration, appreciate their patience and intend to do all we can to resolve this matter soon,” the spokesperson said.

Related: AT&T to Tegna: Return Stations Now, We’ll Pay You Later

At a time when pay-TV companies are losing subscribers to cord cutting, pricing is a sensitive content. But Tegna said what it broadcast is worth paying for.

“Our content remains the most popular and highly viewed programming available. More importantly, the value of what we offer to our MVPD partners has never been greater. The differentiated, non-substitutable programming we provide including live local news, live local and national sports and first run, highly popular network content is a vital reason why consumers continue to subscribe to MVPD bundles,” Tegna said.

“While we remain hopeful that this will get resolved quickly, our viewers should know that our channels are available on other service providers in their community as well as many streaming services that offer instant access when viewers sign up. As always, our stations are also available for free over-the-air and viewers can watch our newscasts live on our stations’ websites, Roku and mobile apps,” it said.

Another big broadcaster, Nexstar Media Group, could have its stations go off the air this week if it is unable to reach a deal with Dish. That outage could happen today.

About Brad Jones

Brad is the Owner/Operator of BBB TV 12, and has been with the company since August of 1996. Brad is a 1987 graduate of Coalfield High School and a 1995 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Communications. He won the 1995 broadcast production student of the year award. Brad worked at Shop at Home, Inc. a home shopping network that was located in Knoxville, TN from 1993 - 1995 and then at Via TV (RSTV, Inc.) from 1995 - 1996. After some freelance work in Nashville, Brad joined the BBB Communications staff in August of 1996. A short stint at WVLT TV as a news photographer was in 2001, but he continued to work at BBB TV as well. Brad is married to Nicole Jenkins Jones, a 1990 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, who works at Oak Ridge Gastroenterology and Associates in Oak Ridge. They have 3 kids, Trevor Bogard, 27, Chandler 22, and Naomi 13. On December 12, 2013 they welcomed their first grandchild, Carter Ryan Bogard. Brad is also the assistant boys basketball coach at Coalfield High School for the past 11 years. In 2013-14 the Yellow Jackets won their first district title since 1991 and just the 4th in school history.

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