The satellite provider is up against a 11:59 P.M. deadline today with Raycom and is also facing losing two Dispatch Broadcast Group stations on Friday.
(Satellite Business News) — With the retransmission consent agreement contract between Raycom Media and AT&T’s DirecTV DBS service set to expire tomorrow night, the broadcaster’s stations took to the airwaves and Internet again to press their case.
In a new statement on the local broadcast stations’ websites, which many of the stations’ general managers read verbatim as an “editorial” on the air, Raycom continued to argue that DirecTV has “not agreed to a fair deal to keep [the Raycom stations] on their line-up after [tonight].”
The existing contract is set to expire at 11:59 p.m. ET today. “It wouldn’t be the first time DirecTV left their customers in the dark,” Raycom added. “In fact, since 2015, DirecTV has dropped local channels from their line-up 14 times, affecting millions of viewers.”
Raycom also said it regret[ted] that that DirecTV keeps putting their subscribers in the middle of these negotiations.” The matter “should not be [consumers’] problem,” Raycom argued, since subscribers “pay 100 percent of [their] bill every single month to DirecTV.” Viewers, Raycom claimed, should not “have to worry about losing” local Raycom stations.
Raycom did not mention how often it is has been involved in retransmission consent disputes in the past, and the instances when it stations went dark on other services. And, in fact, three years ago this month, the last time the Raycom-DirecTV retrans deal was set to expire, DBS subscribers went without the Raycom stations for a week before the two sides cut a new agreement.
DirecTV has not commented on the Raycom situation other than the standard language it has posted on the website it operates regarding retransmission dispute episodes. Raycom operates 65 TV stations in 44 markets.
Meanwhile, DirecTV and AT&T’s other video service, the wireline U-verse, face another retransmission deadline at the same time. The owners of the NBC affiliate in Indianapolis and the CBS affiliate in Columbus, Ohio, started to alert their viewers that those two stations could leave both services on Friday. The two stations are owned by the Dispatch Broadcast Group.
In a statement on the stations’ website, Dispatch said, “We will continue to work toward an agreement with DirecTV and AT&T U-verse and hope to resolve this situation as soon as possible. But we wanted to make you aware that DirecTv and AT&T U-verse subscribers may not have access to our programming” by Friday.
The broadcaster said its “sincere hope is to have a reasonable and fair deal in place as soon as possible.”
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